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Pope denounces 'imbalance' of wealth

Pope John Paul II yesterday denounced the "imbalance" between the world's rich and poor, applauding efforts to eliminate hunger including the recent UN initiative to increase funds for development.

The Pope was speaking to a few hundred pilgrims and tourists in his last Sunday appearance this season at his summer palace in the hill town of Castel Gandolfo.

The Holy Father said yesterday's Gospel passage about Lazarus was "ever more appropriate in reference to the problem of the imbalance between the riches and poverty of the world today."

Last Monday, the presidents of Brazil and France encouraged 110 countries to back a new declaration to fight hunger and poverty and to increase funds for development. More than 50 heads of state or government joined in a debate at the United Nations on the impact of globalization and on ways to finance the war on poverty.

John Paul called the UN meeting important and said it was aimed at "a more united and efficient action against hunger and poverty." He noted that Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano participated in the debate and pledged the Holy See's support for the initiative.

The United States did not join in the pledge to fight hunger and poverty. The Bush administration objected to proposals for international taxes as undemocratic and impossible to implement.

"The Catholic Church assures all its commitment to eradicating the scourge of hunger and the other consequences of poverty from the world," the pope said.

He prayed that God would "sustain the efforts of the international community aimed at justice and solid development. This, in fact, is the path which can guarantee to the world a future of peace."

John Paul also offered prayers on prayers for families and populations "most tried by the unfair distribution of wealth that God destines for all his children."

Pope Denounces 'Imbalance' of Wealth (The Guardian/Associated Press 26/9/04)

Religious are "Witnesses of Hope" in Secularized World (Zenit 24/9/04)
Renew fidelity to original charism, says Pope to religious (Catholic News Agency 24/9/04)
Peace possible only through solidarity of rich and poor, Pope says ( 26/9/04)
Fatigued Pope drops plans for public ceremony (Catholic World News 24/9/04)

27 Sep 2004