Pope Asks G-8 Nations to Ease Scourge of Poverty

Sends Message to “Make Poverty History” Rally

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 3, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI appealed to the Group of Eight nations to work toward debt reduction and the development of Africa at their upcoming summit.

The leaders of the seven most industrialized countries and Russia will be meet this week in the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.

“I wish for the total success of this important meeting, hoping that it will lead to sharing with solidarity the expenses of debt reduction, to implementing concrete measures to eradicate poverty and to promoting the genuine development of Africa,” the Pope said after praying the midday Angelus today with the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

On Saturday, the Holy Father sent a message to the participants of the Make Poverty History rally in Edinburgh in preparation for the summit.

The message was sent on behalf of the Pope by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, to the archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien.

225,000 join appeal

The message stated: “Greetings to all who are gathered for this event, united by their concern for the welfare of millions of our brothers and sisters afflicted by extreme poverty. As the Second Vatican Council teaches, ‘God intended the earth and all it contains for the use of everyone and of all peoples; so that the good things of creation should be available equally to all’ (“Gaudium et Spes,” 69).”

About 225,000 people, all dressed in white, joined the appeal for solidarity, which wended its way through the streets of Edinburgh. Among the participants were Cardinal O’Brien, and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop of Westminster.

“For this reason, people from the world’s richest countries should be prepared to accept the burden of debt reduction for heavily indebted poor countries, and should urge their leaders to fulfill the pledges made to reduce world poverty, especially in Africa, by the year 2015,” stated the message from the Vatican.

“His Holiness prays for the participants in the rally and for the world leaders soon to gather at Gleneagles, that they may all play their part in ensuring a more just distribution of the world’s goods,” added the message. “In the ardent hope that the scourge of global poverty may one day be consigned to history, he cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing.”

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