Benedict XVI Calls G-8 Leaders to Fight Poverty

Says Christian Organizations' Efforts Should be Valued

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 6, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI issued an appeal to the leaders participating in the G-8 summit to keep their promises to fight against poverty, particularly through education.


 
The Pope asked the heads of state gathered in Germany "not to retreat from their promises to make a substantial increase in development aid in favor of the most needy populations, especially those of the African continent."

The Holy Father recalled his letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her response, which assured that the Group of Eight is committed to attaining the Millennium Development Goals.
 
The Pontiff specifically mentioned the second Millennium Goal: to achieve universal primary education -- to ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling by 2015.

He said, "This is an integral part of the attainment of all the other Millennium Goals: It is a guarantee of the consolidation of goals already reached; it is the starting point for autonomous and sustainable processes of development."

Benedict XVI recalled the Church's efforts in the war against poverty and encouraged governments to support private groups' commitments.

"It must not be forgotten," he said, "that the Catholic Church has always been at the forefront in the field of education, reaching places, particularly in the poorest countries, that state structures often fail to reach. Other Christian Churches, religious groups and organizations of civil society share this educational commitment.

"According to the principle of subsidiarity, this reality should be recognized, valued and supported by governments and international organizations, among other things by the allocation of sufficient funding, so that greater efficacy may be guaranteed in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals."