Pope appeals for leprosy eradication

Pope Benedict XVI marked World Leprosy Day with a message of encouragement for missionaries and church health care workers who assist many of the estimated 500,000 people afflicted with leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease.

"Leprosy is a symptom of a more serious and more vast evil, which is poverty," the pope said. "For this reason, like my predecessors, I renew my appeal to the leaders of nations to unite their efforts to overcome the serious imbalances that still penalise a large part of humanity."

Catholic News Service reports that in a separate message, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, head of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, encouraged international agencies to organize health care teams to work in the most heavily afflicted areas of the world, diagnosing leprosy in time for effective treatment.

Cardinal Lozano pointed to progress in fighting leprosy in recent years. The World Health Organisation has reported a significant decline in the number of new cases of leprosy since 2002.

The cardinal added, however, that the scientific and medical advances in treating and preventing leprosy have still failed to reach people in parts of the developing world.

The countries with the greatest number of leprosy cases are India and Brazil, according to WHO statistics.

Meanwhile teh Holy Father also appealed for greater efforts to end economic injustice in the world and released two white doves from his apartment window as a symbol of peace.

With two Italian children by his side, the pope laughed as one of the birds flew back inside his apartment.

"The dove wants to stay with the pope, as you see. But it will find freedom," the pontiff said as an aide relaunched the bird.

The scene on Sunday was bittersweet for the thousands of young Italians who had marched for peace to St. Peter's Square. A year ago, Pope John Paul II set the doves free in one of his last public appearances, laughing with the children as the birds flew in and out of his open window.

The next day the frail pope was taken to the hospital for flu complications. He died two months later.

Pope Benedict looked pleased to continue his predecessor's tradition. He told the young people that if they want to become peacemakers they should "learn to always say and do the truth."

Pope appeals for greater efforts to end poverty, leprosy (Catholic News Service 30/1/06)

Law and pastoral care united by love for truth (Vatican Information Service 28/1/06)
Problem of leprosy must not be forgotten (Vatican Information Service 28/1/06)
Saints: privileged witnesses of the primacy of charity (Vatican Information Service 29/1/06)
Vatican may have found Pope John Paul's 'miracle' (Reuters 30/1/06)
Vatican may have found Pope John Paul's "miracle" (Reuters 30/1/06)
Pope Benedict XVI calls for changes to annulment procedure (ABC Radio The World Today 30/1/06)
Indissolubility of marriage essential value (AGI Online 28/1/06)
Russia, enthusiasm and amazement for the Pope's Encyclical (AsiaNews.it 30/1/06)
Pope calls on world leaders to unite in fight against poverty, disease (Vancouver Sun 29/1/06)
Religious orders give church, world models of charity, says pope (Catholic News Service 30/1/06)
On Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI met with law officials from the Tribunal of the Roman Rota--the Holy See's governing body of law (Catholic News Agency 30/1/06)
Pope Benedict calls Saints, witnesses of charity, announces he'll preside at Day of Consecrated Life (Catholic News Agency 30/1/06)
Pope, Church leaders call for greater attention to oft forgotten disease of Leprosy (Catholic News Agency 30/1/06)
Pope prays for victims of Polish roof-collapse (Catholic News Agency 30/1/06)
Would-be First Miracle of Pope John Paul II revealed (Catholic News Agency 30/1/06)
Sandro Magister: The Keys of Forgiveness: The Loving Power of the Successor of Peter (L'Espresso 30/1/06)
Tribunals should work quickly, defend marriage, Pope says (Catholic World News 30/1/06)
Miracle attributed to John Paul II involved Parkinson's disease (Catholic World News 30/1/06)
Papal visit to Turkey set for 2006-- probably November (Catholic World News 30/1/06)
Charity is primary virture, Pope reminds Angelus audience (Catholic World News 30/1/06)
Charities welcome Pope's first encyclical (Independent Catholic News 30/1/06)
Pope Puts Charity 1st in Life of Church (Zenit 29/1/06)
Pontiff Links Leprosy to Poverty (Zenit 29/1/06)
Benedict XVI: No Love, No Consecrated Life (Zenit 29/1/06)
Holy Father Prays for Victims in Katowice (Zenit 29/1/06)
Christ a "Trainer" for Peace, Says Pope (Zenit 29/1/06)
On Witnesses of Love (Zenit 29/1/06)
Chiara Lubich's Comments on "God Is Love" (Zenit 29/1/06)

31 Jan 2006