.- After praying the weekly Angelus prayer yesterday, at which he recalled the memory and papal anniversary of his successor John Paul II, Pope Benedict challenged the world to fight with greater energy and solidarity against the scourge of poverty “so that no one”, he said, “is excluded from society. The Pope’s remarks came on the eve of the World Day for the Eradication of Poverty, established by Fr. Joseph Wresinski, founder of the movement "ATD, Aide a Toute Détresse - Quart Monde", and being celebrated today.
"Poverty”, the Pope said, “is a plague against which humanity must fight without cease…We are called to ever greater solidarity to ensure that no one remains excluded from society."
Pope Benedict assured listeners that his prayers were with "the poor who fight courageously to live with dignity, caring for their families and the needs of their fellows."
He also greeted "everyone who puts themselves at the service of people in need."
Likewise, he called on the leaders of the international community "to hear the cry of the poor and intensify their activities in the fight against poverty."
On Saturday, the Holy See released a message sent by Pope Benedict to Jacques Diouf, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for the annual World Food Day, in which he said that “hunger and malnutrition are, unfortunately, one of most serious problems still affecting the life of the human family.”
The Pope cited rigid economic structures, “too often concerned only with profit, practices hostile to human life, and…ideological systems that reduce people to the level of mere instruments,” as causes of hunger, and ways in which people are deprived “of their fundamental dignity."
He called for greater inter-cultural dialogue and greater world vigilance to solve the problem and to allow for the least in society to receive food and care.