Pope: Poverty Is Problem for All

Says It Exists in Various Forms

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 11, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI believes that civil and Church institutions must cooperate to alleviate poverty, whether it is economic, human or relational.

At the same time, the Holy Father said that “the suffering man belongs to us.”

He made these comments in his message today at his traditional new-year meeting with local civil officials. On hand were Piero Marrazzo, president of the Latium region; Walter Veltroni, mayor of Rome; and Enrico Gasbarra, president of the Province of Rome.

The Pontiff told the politicians: “Every suffering man belongs to the Church and, at the same time, to all brothers in humanity.”

“He belongs, therefore, and in a specific way, also to your responsibility as public administrators,” said the Bishop of Rome.

Benedict XVI encouraged cooperation “between ecclesial bodies and your administrations with the objective of alleviating and going out to meet the many forms of poverty, economic but also human and relational, which afflict a notable number of people and families, especially among immigrants.”

“There is, moreover, the enormous area of health care, which calls for considerable and coordinated effort to assure all those who suffer from physical or psychic illnesses immediate and adequate treatments,” said the Pope.

The Holy Father added: “Also in this area, the Church and Catholic organizations are pleased to offer their cooperation, in the light of the great principles of the sacredness of human life, from conception until natural death, and of the centrality of the person of the patient.”

Benedict XVI said to the politicians that willingness “to foster this cooperation … will surely help the whole population.”

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