Solidarity Is Human Family's 1st Challenge, Says Pope

Welcomes 7 New Ambassadors to the Holy See

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 16, 2005 ( Mindful of the plight of so many poor and excluded peoples, Benedict XVI said that the top challenge of the human family is solidarity.

The Pope had the opportunity today to launch an urgent appeal for a more just distribution of wealth, when he received the letters of credence of seven new ambassadors to the Holy See.

The envoys were from Azerbaijan, Guinea, Malta, New Zealand, Rwanda, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.

«The earth has the capacity to feed all its inhabitants, on the condition that rich countries do not keep for themselves what belongs to all,» the Holy Father said.

Benedict XVI invited rich countries to commit themselves «to create a humanity that is increasingly fraternal, paying renewed attention to all, in particular the poorest and excluded from society.»

«In this connection,» he said, «our world faces numerous challenges that it must surmount so that man is always given more importance than technology [is], and so that the just destiny of peoples is the main concern of those who have agreed to administer public affairs, not for themselves, but for the common good.»

Speaking in French, the Pontiff continued: «Our hearts cannot be at ease while we see brothers suffer for lack of food, work, a roof and other essential goods.»

A just distribution

To respond to the call of the poor, the Holy Father said, «we must address the first challenge: solidarity between generations, solidarity between countries and between continents, for an ever more just distribution of the world’s riches among all men. It is one of the essential services that men of good will must offer to humanity.»

Benedict XVI said that «the Church will not fail to stress that all men must pay attention to a human fraternity made up of concrete gestures, at the level of individuals and at the level of governments and international institutions.»

The Church, he added, «will continue to go to the assistance of peoples in all continents with the support of her local communities and of all men of good will, in particular in the areas of education, health and essential goods.»

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