.- In light of the commencement of tomorrow’s G8 Summit, which will bring the leaders of the 8 most industrialized nations of the world to Scotland, over 200,000 took to the streets of Edinburgh to call on the leaders to relieve the debts of the world’s most impoverished countries.
The 200,000-participant march was part of the July 2nd, ‘Make Poverty History’ rally, whose organizers are calling for debt cancellation, fair trade laws and increased aid to third world countries.
As the rally in Edinburgh took place Saturday, a number of ‘Live 8’ concerts took place in sites around the world to likewise raise support and awareness for the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign.
Backers of the movement range from Hollywood superstars to political leaders and even the Pope.
In a message sent to Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien, archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh on the occasion of the rally, Pope Benedict XVI wrote that, "people from the world's richest countries ... should urge their leaders to fulfill the pledges made to reduce world poverty, especially in Africa, by the year 2015."
He also asked world leaders to "play their part in ensuring a more just distribution of the world's goods."
Likewise, during his Angelus prayer on Sunday, the Holy Father said that "With all my heart, I wish full success to [the G8] meeting, in the hope that it may lead to sharing the costs of debt reduction in solidarity, implementing concrete measures for eradicating poverty and promoting authentic development in Africa."
On Friday, Vatican observer, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, spoke before the United Nations, telling the group that, "The Holy See is pleased to associate itself with those who support the accord reached in London recently by the G8 finance ministers to cancel the debts of 18 heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC).”
“Debt remission measures, he added, "are just the start of that path, first of all because the measure in question needs to be extended to some 38 HIPC countries."