.- Made public today at the Vatican were letters exchanged by Pope Benedict XVI and German Chancellor Angela Merkel a few months ago. In his letter to the German Chancellor, the Holy Father urges Merkel to keep poverty and aid for Africa, “high on the international political agenda,” during the German presidency of the EU and in the run-up to the next G8 summit.
The Pope noted that Merkel had announced her intention to keep the question of global poverty and assistance to Africa would remain on the agendas of upcoming G8 and EU summits.
“I therefore write to you in order to express the gratitude of the Catholic Church and my own personal appreciation for these announcements,” Pope Benedict said.
“I welcome the fact that the question of poverty, with specific reference to Africa, now appears on the agenda of the G8; indeed, it should be given the highest attention and priority, for the sake of poor and rich countries alike.”
“The Holy See has repeatedly insisted that, while the Governments of poorer countries have a responsibility with regard to good governance and the elimination of poverty, the active involvement of international partners is indispensable,” the Pope said, adding that this should not be seen as an ‘extra’ or as a concession which could be postponed in the face of pressing national concerns. It is a grave and unconditional moral responsibility, founded on the unity of the human race, and on the common dignity and shared destiny of rich and poor alike, who are being drawn ever closer by the process of globalization.”
“Trade conditions favorable to poor countries, including, above all, broad and unconditional access to markets, should be made available and guaranteed in lasting and reliable ways.”
The Holy Father encouraged policies that would lead to debt reduction for poor countries, continued support from developmental countries, a renewed investment for research in and development of medicines to treat Aids, tuberculosis, malaria and the like, as well as policies that would lead to a reduction of arms.
“While these challenges should be undertaken by all members of the international community,” Pope Benedict said, “the G8 and the European Union should take the lead.”
The Holy Father concluded his letter by offering prayers and blessings to participants in the G8 and European Union.