Democracy Calls for Elimination of Poverty, Insists Vatican

Cardinal Sodano's Letter to Organization of American States

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 10, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican stated unequivocally that the consolidation of democracy calls for the eradication of poverty.



Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano confirmed this position in a letter sent on behalf of John Paul II to the Organization of American States (OAS), which was meeting in Santiago, Chile.

"The promotion and consolidation of democracy calls for the elimination of poverty and all that which is, at the same time, its cause and consequence," the cardinal said in the letter addressed to María Soledad Alvear Valenzuela, Chile's Foreign Affairs Minister.

In particular, the cardinal mentioned "illiteracy, citizen insecurity, criminality, terrorism, corruption, arms and drugs trafficking."

In addition, democracy requires "the solution of so many other social problems, such as discrimination, racism, intolerance and lack of respect for human rights," the Vatican letter added.

"Without social, political and economic development, the very instruments that should guarantee the good functioning of the democratic system -- such as the right to vote, the party system, electoral propaganda, etc. -- can easily become objects of manipulation and patronage," the cardinal stated.

Lastly, the letter said that "the healthier is the family, the healthier will society be."

"To be concerned about the stability of the family institution is, therefore, a duty of the state, which it must effect through legislation that favors and does not penalize the family," it said.

The letter continued: "The Holy See will never tire of repeating that the family cannot be equated, by granting the same rights, with other forms of union that do not have the sacred end and lofty commitment to continue the human species and to educate the children, offering them the warmth, protection, and material and spiritual opportunities that they need to grow and to which they have a right."

The OAS comprises 35 countries. Cuba was excluded in 1962. It is the region's principal political forum for multilateral dialogue and decision-making.