I was delighted to see this title in Pope Benedict’s message for World Day of Peace 2009, as my thoughts had been about the subject the past few days (see previous post).
There is a lot in the pope’s message, and I would encourage you to read it in its entirety for yourselves at: www.vatican.va/phome_en.htm and click on “Message For Peace 2009” near the upper right corner of the web page.
The Holy Father discusses poverty from so many angles: Demographics, disease, child poverty, disarmament and arms development, food accessibility and food being used as a commodity for speculation, globalization, international solidarity, commerce and finance, and ethical approaches to economics, politics and participation. The message is jam-packed with good stuff.
For me, the most notable quote in the message was this:
“What the fight against poverty really needs are men and women who live in a profoundly fraternal way and are able to accompany individuals, families and communities on journeys of authentic human development.” (Sect. 13)
What a challenge that is for all of us. To walk with the poor. Jesus himself said in Luke 9:13, “Give them something to eat yourselves.” Jesus command here is one demanding personal sacrifice.
I might add that the Holy Father refers not only to material poverty but also poverty of spirit. There is plenty of that here in America.
I also appreciated his comments about HIV and other pandemics, as this was a topic of recent posts here. He said:
“…countries afflicted by some of these pandemics find themselves held hostage, when they try to address them, by those who make economic aid conditional upon the implementation of anti-life policies. It is especially hard to combat AIDS, a major cause of poverty, unless the moral issues connected with the spread of the virus are also addressed.”
Bravo, Holy Father!