VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 26, 2004 (
Promotion of justice and solidarity is the path that will guarantee peace in the world, said John Paul II.

The Holy Father commented on this Sunday’s gospel passage, the parable of the rich man and the poor man Lazarus, when praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.

The teaching to be drawn from the parable is clear: everyone must make solidaristic, not egotistic, use of his/her goods," the Pope emphasized, making a great effort to deliver his address, which he read in its totality.

"Let us pray to the Lord to sustain the efforts of the international community in favor of justice and solidaristic development. This is, in fact, the path that can guarantee a future of peace to the world," the Pontiff said.

The Bishop of Rome asked for prayers in particular for "families and peoples most tested by the unjust distribution of the goods that God intends for all his children."

For John Paul II, the parable of the poor man who suffers the humiliation of the rich on earth and in heaven enjoys a privileged place, is especially appropriate to address the "problem of the imbalance between wealth and indigence in today's world."

In this connection, John Paul II referred specifically to the meeting held last Monday at the U.N. headquarters in New York, attended by heads of state and government, to promote "more solidaristic and effective action 'against hunger and poverty.'" The meeting was convoked by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, president of Brazil.

"Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, also addressed the meeting, expressing the Holy See's support for this new initiative,” he added.

The government leaders signed the New York Declaration on Action Against Hunger and Poverty, which calls for, among other things, mechanisms to impose taxes on world trade and arms trafficking.

"The Catholic Church assures all of her commitment to eradicate from the world the scourge of hunger and other consequences of poverty," the Pope said.

"In this context, I am also pleased to recall the meeting of all the apostolic nuncios in Africa, held in recent days in the Vatican,” he added.

The purpose of that meeting, which took place from Thursday to Saturday, was to seek ways to remind the world not to forget the African continent and to express to the people of Africa the Pope’s “spiritual closeness and the solidarity of the universal Church."