Pope: Millennium Goals Hang on Generosity

Responds to Message From British Prime Minister

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 8, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI has affirmed to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that only generosity will ensure that the Millennium Development Goals meet their deadline.



The Pope stated this in a June 18 letter sent in his name by his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to the prime minister. The Holy Father was responding to a May letter that Brown sent him.

"In your letter you recall certain practical initiatives in the realm of international cooperation undertaken recently by the British government and the Holy See for the benefit of poor countries," Cardinal Betone wrote to Brown. "At the same time you propose the creation of a broad international coalition with a view to honoring the commitments made in 2000 and, consequently, attaining the MDGs by the year 2015.

"In this regard, I wish to refer to His Holiness' message of June 3, 2008, to the FAO summit on food security, in which he asked for a courageous effort to 'globalize the expectations of solidarity.'"

Cardinal Bertone explained that this globalization implies that "due attention will be given to respect for human dignity in all negotiations, all decisions and in the manner of their implementation, so that the fruits of creation will be available to all people, and to all future generations. Only a deeply felt and responsible sense of generosity will ensure that the MDGs are reached within the projected time scale."

The secretary of state assured that the Pontiff prays "that the important international meetings planned for the second half of the present year will be able to provide an effective response to the economic crises afflicting several regions of the planet, and put into effect a concerted international plan of action aimed at freeing the world from extreme poverty, from the scourge of hunger and from the chronic lack of general medical care."

In his letter, Brown had expressed concern that action in 2008 is key for reaching the MDGs.

He highlighted several of the Pope's public exhortations in this regard, including the address to the United Nations in April, his purchase of the first International Immunization Bond in November, 2006, and a speech from June, 2007.

"Your Holiness, I know that you are deeply committed to achieving the MDGs. […] I believe that without concerted action this year," Brown wrote, "the MDGs will slide down the political agenda and the opportunity to deliver on our promises to the developing world will be lost for another generation. We are determined to prevent this and are building a global coalition to ensure that we live up to the pledges we made back in 2000. Your Holiness, I sincerely hope that again you will lend your voice to these efforts in the weeks and months ahead."