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Pope urges equity in wealth distribution

Pope John Paul II has expressed concern about the poverty and social injustice in Honduras when he received the nation's bishops in audience on Tuesday.

The Holy Father said the economic situation of Honduras highlights the contrast between the material resources and fertility of the land and the "need to improve the social order, by promoting greater justice."

He recommended "structures that favour a more equitable distribution of goods," to "avoid having a few citizens having so many resources in detriment of the great majority."

Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa greeted the Pope on behalf of the bishops of the Central American country of 6.4 million people. The Holy Father visited Honduras in 1983.

The Pope fears that, to the injustice in Honduran society "will be added the isolation of the poorest who, locked in their own world, lose hope in a better society."

"Because of this the country suffers when peasants feel marginalised, when Indian ethnic groups and citizens most in need of protection, such as children and youths, are forgotten and abandoned to their fate," the Pope explained.

Therefore, he said, "it is urgent to promote real justice, because to ignore this exigency might foster the temptation of violent response on the part of victims of injustice."