Holy See: Do We Really Want to Eradicate Poverty?

Says It's an Obligation, Not an Act of Charity

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NEW YORK, OCT. 22, 2010 (Zenit.org).- We have the means to end worldwide poverty, says the Holy See delegate to the United Nations, but the question is whether we have the will to accomplish it.



Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, permanent observer of the Holy See at the United Nations, stated this Thursday before the U.N. General Assembly in a meeting on eradication of poverty and other development issues.

"Whatever the form it takes, poverty is an insult to our common humanity that so many people around the world continue to suffer," the prelate said.

He noted that "poverty is a reality even in so-called affluent societies, and not just in economically poorer countries."

The archbishop observed: "Poverty profoundly affects the dignity of the human person. The human person deprived of the basic conditions to live decently, is humiliated, and must therefore be helped to recover."

"My delegation cannot ignore the moral implications of poverty," he stated.

"It affects mainly those who are not capable of a decent livelihood, especially the most affected being children, the disabled, the elderly, and women," Archbishop Chullikatt pointed out. "In fact, almost half of those living in absolute poverty today are children."

Crises

"Unfortunately," he noted, "the combined food, fuel, and financial crises since 2008 have slowed down, and even reversed, progress towards eradication of poverty in many developing countries around the world."

The prelate reported that "64 million more people are now estimated to be living in extreme poverty in 2010 while some 40 million more went hungry last year because of the food, fuel, and financial crises."

He continued: "By 2015, 1.2 million more children under five may die, 350,000 more students may not complete primary school, and some 100 million more people may remain without access to safe water.

"Now, more than ever, is the time to recommit efforts towards such poverty eradication."

The archbishop asserted that "eradication of poverty should not be considered as an act of charity but rather as an obligation of the international community."

"We have the means to bring to an end to poverty," he concluded. "Let us now demonstrate to the skeptics that we have the will to alleviate the suffering of those who go without the basic needs that everyone should have!"

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