Pontiff Asks Haiti for More Support of Families

Urges Getting to Roots of Poverty

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 6, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is asking Haitian authorities to give more support to poor families who find themselves forced to emigrate in search of better situations.

The Pope made this appeal today in his French-language address to the new Haitian ambassador to the Holy See, Carl-Henry Guiteau.

The Holy Father lamented how recent natural disasters in Haiti have “worsened the already difficult situation for many families.” This has caused “many Haitians to leave their country in search of other sources of support to maintain their families.”

The Pontiff called for “quick solutions to allow these families to reunite,” though he acknowledged “sometimes problematic administrative situations.” Renewed support from the international community, is key in this regard, he added.

On the other hand, the Pontiff insisted that it is necessary to “get to the roots of the poverty problem.” He affirmed that “the education of youth is a priority for the future of the nation.”

“This task is important and urgent to better the quality of life, as much at the individual level as the social one,” Benedict XVI declared. “In this context, the Catholic Church offers a significant contribution, both through its numerous educational institutions with its presence in remote and rural regions, and in the quality of the education and formation given in Catholic schools.

“I am happy to note that these institutions are valued both by the authorities and the people.”

The Holy Father also considered the issue of protecting the planet, observing that the natural disasters in Haiti have brought attention to this problem.

“There is a type of kinship between man and creation, which should lead to respecting both realities,” he said. “The protection of the environment is a challenge for everyone, because it is a matter of the defense and promotion of a collective good, designed for everyone, a responsibility that should move current generations to watch out for future ones.”

“Imprudent exploitation of creation’s resources and its consequences, which tends to seriously affect the life of the poorest, cannot be effectively confronted without political and economic decisions conforming with human dignity, as well as effective international cooperation,” he added.

Looking up

Benedict XVI affirmed that there are also signs of hope in Haiti, despite its extreme poverty: Hope “founded particularly in the human and Christian values in Haitian society, such as respect for life, close-knit families, a sense of responsibility, and above all, faith in God, who does not abandon those who trust in him.”

“Commitment to these values enables avoiding the evils that threaten social and family life,” he continued. “Thus, I heartily encourage the efforts of all those who in your country contribute to bringing forward the protection of life and returning importance to the institution of the family.”

In this sense, the Holy Father highlighted the importance of the testimony offered by the Catholic community: “I encourage you to continue your service to Haitian society, being attentive to the needs of the poor and seeking the unity of the nation in fraternity and solidarity. In this way you will be an authentic sign of hope for all Haitians.”

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