Why the Pope Emphasizes Africa

Aide Comments on Exchange With Merkel

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 29, 2007 (Zenit.org).- By putting Africa in the forefront of international politics, Benedict XVI offers hope “for a more equitable world,” said the director of the Vatican Television Center.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said this on the most recent edition of the Vatican television news program “Octava Dies,” in which he commented on the exchange of letters between the Pope and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The letters were published April 23 by the Vatican.

In the Holy Father’s letter to Merkel, dated Dec. 16, he underlines the necessity of a renewed international commitment to help with the problems of the poorest countries, especially those in Africa.

Father Lombardi said: “The Pope’s letter intends to sustain and encourage the positive intentions already manifested by the English presidency of the European Union and strongly reaffirmed by the current German presidency in view of the meeting of the major industrialized nations, the G-8, in June.

“The letters of the Pope and Merkel make reference to the various concrete measures in the field of international commerce, of the cancelation of foreign debt, of the helps for development, health, and the struggle to reduce arms sales.”

The Vatican spokesman said that the exchange was “a high-level dialogue in which the prospect of a real international effort toward a more just world finds an efficacious contribution of inspiration and moral support from the highest authority in the Church.”

Father Lombardi said: “In today’s world a large part of the African continent finds itself in a condition of dramatic poverty with dim prospects for the future.

“The effort of the peoples affected is necessary to change the situation but it will not be enough if, in our interdependent world, a much more favorable framework of conditions for development is not created.”

“Africa needs the commitment of Africans but it also needs the orientation toward solidarity and justice on the part of the political and economic forces that are active at an international level,” he said.

The Vatican spokesman added that “the letters of the Pope and Merkel are a sign of hope for a more equitable world.”

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