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Vatican says 'poverty of imagination' hinders fight against real poverty

Overcoming world poverty is slowed by "a certain poverty of imagination among the more fortunate peoples of the world", according to a statement presented by Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences president Mary Ann Glendon.

Glendon, a Harvard law professor, was heading the Vatican delegation to the the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) meeting in New York.

During its session on least-developed countries, the she also blamed "the vicious cycle of material poverty" in those countries, but also a lack of empathy on the part of others and "an inability at times to recognise the common humanity" of all of the world's people.

Dr Glendon said action plans such as the one approved in Brussels for the 2001-10 decade had a potential for "unlocking the prison of poverty" for the 700 million people in those countries.

But she said turning the key to unlock that prison required the help of the development partners of the impoverished countries.

"The Holy See, as a partner with long-standing special concern for the poorest people in the poorest countries, recognizes that a broad range of cooperative economic and political measures are required," Glendon said.

For financial aid to have an impact, it "must be channeled more effectively into well-prepared, productive investments that provide clear benefits to the communities for which it was intended," she said.

Vatican: 'Poverty of imagination' hinders efforts to end real poverty (Catholic News Service 30/6/04)

UN Economic and Social Council
Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences
Lecturer says church stands alone in war on poverty (CathNews 20/6/02)

2 Jul 2004