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Bishops call for action on poverty

LONDON (CNS) — Catholic bishops from four continents are appealing to leaders of the world’s richest countries to honor their commitments to combat extreme poverty.

The eight church leaders met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair April 30 and were scheduled to meet with government leaders in Germany and Italy before meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster, England, told Mr Blair that Great Britain could “set an example” to the Group of Eight industrialized nations meeting in Germany June 6-8 by honoring the pledges to more than double development aid to Africa by 2010.

G-8 nations made those pledges in Gleneagles, Scotland, two years ago.

Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien of St. Andrews and Edinburgh told the prime minister about the massive gap between “the proportions of expenditure on weaponry compared to the proportion on the poor.”

In a four-page statement to Mr Blair and other European leaders, the bishops said that the increasing global economic imbalance “leads us to question the prevalent model of economic growth which operates without reference to the common good and the well-being of the human beings it is intended to serve.”

Besides Cardinals Murphy-O’Connor and O’Brien and Archbishop Onaiyekan, the church leaders meeting the government officials were Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla.; Archbishop Vincent Concessao of New Delhi; Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo; Bishop Marc Stenger of Troyes, France; and Bishop Arrigo Miglio of Ivrea, Italy.

(Copyright Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.)

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