Pope Asks Rich to Hear Cry of Poor

Recalls Appeal Made by Paul VI

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 30, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI encouraged the rich who waste money on luxury to hear the cry coming from countries plagued by hunger.



The Pope made his appeal today during the traditional Angelus address, which he dedicated to the Gospel reading on the rich man and Lazarus. He gave the address at the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

Offering a social interpretation of the parable, the Holy Father referred to an encyclical from his predecessor Paul VI, "Populorum Progressio."

"The hungry nations of the world cry out to the peoples blessed with abundance," Benedict XVI said.

He said Paul VI's appeal has the same urgency today.

"We cannot say that we do not know the road to take," the German Pontiff affirmed. "We have the law and the prophets, Christ tells us in the Gospel. Whoever chooses not to listen would not change even if someone came back from the dead to warn him.

"How can we not think, especially in this moment, of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, stricken with serious flooding over these last few days?"

Benedict XVI also mentioned "many other situations of humanitarian emergency in various regions of the planet, in which battles for political power lead to the worsening of environmental problems already weighing on the people."

He appealed for the intercession of the Virgin Mary: "May she make us attentive to our brothers in need, to share with them the abundance or the little that we have, and to contribute, beginning with ourselves, to the spreading of the logic and style of authentic solidarity."

Benedict XVI's meditation on today's Gospel noted that the poor man "represents the person that only God cares for, and unlike the rich man, he has a name, Lazarus, an abbreviation of Eleazar, which means 'God helps him.' He who is forgotten by all is not forgotten by God; he who is worth nothing in the eyes of men, is precious in the eyes of the Lord."