Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, joined the bishops’ conferences of the Group of 8 nations (G8) to urge national leaders to protect the poor and assist developing countries at the upcoming G8 Summit in the United Kingdom.
In a letter from Monday, the bishops urged leaders to focus on agriculture and nutrition ahead of the G8 Meeting.
“In a world that has made great strides in improving food production and distribution, far too many of God’s children still go to bed hungry or suffer from a lack of nutrition, a tragedy that has lifelong consequences for health and educational achievement. In particular, there is a need to strengthen assistance to African countries in order to improve local agriculture,” the letter says.
They also pressed for special attention to tax evasion, trade and transparency issues.
“Trade and trade rules must serve the universal common good of the whole human family and the special needs of the most vulnerable nations. It is counterproductive to provide agricultural development assistance on the one hand and then to use unfair agricultural trade policies that harm the agricultural economics of poorer nations on the other,” the letter says.
“The G8’s emphasis on transparency is critical. Human dignity demands truth, and democracy requires transparency. With more and better information, civil societies, including faith-based organizations, can hold their governments accountable and help insure that resources reduce poverty and improve the health of the whole society,” they added.
The bishops argued for a consistent focus on the impact of policies on the poor.
“By asking first how a given policy will affect the poor and the vulnerable, you can help assure that the common good of all is served. As a human family we are only as healthy as our weakest members,” the bishops wrote.
The coalition of bishops who signed the letter includes the presidents of the Catholic Conferences of England and Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the Conferences of the European Community.
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The full text of the letter is available online: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/poverty/global/upload/2013-G8-Letter.pdf