Caritas Sends Message to G-8

Raises Banner in St. Peter's Square

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 5, 2007 ( More than 300 Caritas Internationalis members sent a message to the Group of Eight leaders, in the form of a banner raised in St. Peter's Square.

Some 25 bishops and archbishops, 50 priests and nuns, and 300 Caritas delegates gathered today in the Vatican to erect the banner that said "Make Aid Work."

The sign refers to a campaign organized by Caritas and other aid organizations that is asking the G-8 nations to follow through on promises made two years ago in Gleneagles, Scotland, to increase aid to developing countries.

The G-8 leaders are meeting again this weekend in Heiligendamm, Germany.

Caritas secretary-general Duncan MacLaren said, "The 'Make Aid Work' banner in St. Peter's sends a clear message to G-8 leaders: The scandal of poverty must end."

The campaign, said MacLaren, is to remind the G-8 leaders of the "promises two years ago that would have lifted millions out of poverty."

"Instead," he continued, "we have seen backsliding on aid. The latest figures show aid flows in reverse for the first time in 10 years. Of the worst offenders, Italy is predicted to be $8 billion short on its promises, France $7.6 billion short and Germany $7 billion."

The Caritas director added: "G-8 leaders must know that nothing will come of nothing.

"If they leave Heiligendamm without concrete plans, then they will have failed the poor. But they must also know that we will not go away. We will speak again."

Caritas Internationalis is currently holding its general assembly in Rome.