British Politician Thanks Pope for Global Aid

Attests to Church’s Role in Alleviating Poverty

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 27, 2010 ( The British Secretary of State for International Development met with Benedict XVI to thank him for the Church’s role in international aid, especially for the earthquake victims in Haiti.

Douglas Alexander traveled to Rome for this Tuesday meeting with the Pope, in which he spoke about issues of global poverty.

On his Web site, the politician stated before the meeting, «I am immensely honored to have been invited to meet with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and intend to thank him personally for his urgent appeal on Haiti.»

Alexander expressed the hope to discuss with the Pontiff «the continued importance of tackling global poverty, and the role faith groups can play, not only in delivering health and education but also in their ability to create consensus and mobilize opinion in the developed world.»

«I also plan on thanking the Holy Father for his regular speaking out on moral importance of countries living up to their overseas aid promises,» he added.

An article on Alexander’s Web site noted his intention to highlight the «Catholic Church’s unique role on the world stage — particularly at the grassroots level delivering health and education services, and their significant influence on important issues such as climate change and conflict resolution — as well as the work by Catholics across Scotland and the [United Kingdom] in support of tackling global poverty.»

Today’s edition of L’Osservatore Romano featured an article by Alexander, in which he noted that a quarter of all health care in sub-Saharan Africa is provided by the Catholic Church, and that Catholic schools serve nearly 12 million students, «offering opportunities to many people there.»

«The Holy See is in a unique position» in the fight against poverty, the politician reiterated.

He noted on his Web site that prior to his Rome trip he spoke to Cardinal Keith O’Brien, archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, who «was delighted that I will have the opportunity to discuss these important issues in Rome.»

Alexander added, «I have also been in touch with the local Catholic churches to offer the opportunity for them for me to convey any messages to His Holiness.»

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