Pope Urges Church-State Cooperation in Peru to Battle Poverty

Appeals for Support of the Family

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 7, 2004 (Zenit.org).- When receiving the new Peruvian ambassador to the Holy See, John Paul II encouraged cooperation between the Catholic Church and the Lima government to combat poverty.

In his address today to Pablo Moran Val, until now Peru’s envoy to Italy, the Pope also appealed to the government of Alejandro Toledo for policies favorable to the family, “irreplaceable basis of a nation’s harmonious development.”

The Holy Father acknowledged the authorities’ efforts “to improve the conditions of life of the more unfortunate sectors of society, endeavoring to offer opportunities of proper work, health care and decorous housing.”

“Unfortunately, poverty continues to characterize the life of thousands of your fellow citizens,” he said.

“Satisfaction of basic needs of the most disinherited and excluded must be considered a fundamental priority, given that the accelerated transformations of the international economy have placed many of them in an almost desperate situation,” the Pope stressed.

Referring to the work of the Church in Peru in favor of those who “today live the dehumanizing consequences” of the current situation, the Pontiff stressed that this is one of “the areas where cooperation between the various political entities and the ecclesial community find fertile ground to take care of and help the poor.”

John Paul II emphasized that included in the government’s measures must be “the defense of human life and the family institution, threatened today in so many places by an erroneous concept of modernity or freedom, as the family, configured according to the natural order established by the Creator, is the irreplaceable basis of a nation’s harmonious development.”

Finally, the Holy Father addressed “a word of closeness and encouragement” to the numerous Peruvian emigrants, in particular, those who have arrived in Europe. In Rome, Peruvians comprise one of the largest immigrant communities.

“Distance from the homeland is due, in the majority of cases, to the desire to find better conditions of life. However, emigrants must feel committed to contribute solutions for the country that witnessed their birth and that today continues to consider them its children despite the distance,” John Paul II said.

“The Church does not limit herself to recall the fundamental ethical principle that emigrants must always be treated with respect for the dignity of every human person, but mobilizes all her resources to assist them in the best way possible,” he added.

The Pope said: “Often churches and other Catholic institutions are, for them, their main point of reference to meet together, celebrate feasts, maintaining alive their native identity, and where they can find valid if not sole support, to defend their rights and resolve urgent situations.”

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