Fr. Lombardi: Fight against hunger, poverty 'too big to fail'


The Vatican spokesman urged that the same attitude taken to confront the economic crisis must be applied to boost development and combat hunger and poverty in the world. Making reference to the Pope's words from his landmark speech to the British parliament last week, Fr. Federico Lombardi said these objectives are "too big too fail."

In his weekly "Octava dies" editorial, Fr. Federico Lombardi recalled Pope Benedict's words at London's Westminster Hall on Sept. 17, when he employed an expression that was coined as world governments allocated large sums to save major financial institutions from failing.

The Holy Father then applauded the U.K.'s commitment to aiding development in the world and said he was encouraged by signs of increased solidarity in the international commitment to the poor.

Pope Benedict noted that "fresh thinking" is needed "to turn this solidarity into effective action" to improve people's lives in areas of basic need. He added: "Where human lives are concerned, time is always short: yet the world has witnessed the vast resources that governments can draw upon to rescue financial institutions deemed 'too big to fail.'

"Surely," he concluded, "the integral human development of the world’s peoples is no less important: here is an enterprise, worthy of the world’s attention, that is truly 'too big to fail'."

By these words, said Fr. Lombardi on Saturday, the Pope meant that "if we were capable of such interventions to save big financial institutions, why are we not when it is about development of the peoples of the earth, or hunger, or poverty?

"This," he underscored, "is truly too big of an objective that we might fail in it!"

Referring then to the recent UN "Millennium Development Goals" summit, Fr. Lombardi said that "the enterprise is gigantic and calls on the collaboration of not only governments, but all of the active forces of society, both in the developed and developing worlds."

The Church, he assured, is committed to this through her many component parts "in light of a spiritual and moral perspective, aware and attentive to fundamental values ..."

Making reference to the words of the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Kodwo Appiah Turkson, to the New York summit this week, Fr. Lombardi concluded, "the human person must be at the center of research for development, he must never be seen as a weight, but as an active part of the solution."

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