VATICAN CITY (CNS): Poverty, particularly the growing gap between the world’s rich and poor, is one of the most dramatic situations the world is facing and requires a response by Christians as well as by governments, Cardinal Renato Martino said.
The cardinal, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, announced that his office was preparing a document on “poverty in the age of globalisation”.
Vatican Radio reported on September 2 that the cardinal made the announcement during a late-August visit to Tanzania, where he hosted a continent-wide presentation on the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
“The commitment to organising and structuring society in such a way as to ensure one’s neighbour does not find himself in poverty is an indispensable act of charity,” the cardinal said.
The obligation to work for the eradication of poverty was especially binding, he said, “when a boundless number of people and even whole populations” were sinking further into poverty while the world’s wealthiest people got richer.
He said the situation had assumed “the proportions of a truly global social question”.
“Poverty – especially the growing inequality between regions, between continents and between countries and within countries – constitutes the most dramatic problem facing the world,” he said.
Cardinal Martino said the Gospel called Christians to imitate Jesus and “give preference to the poor, addressing our energy and resources to the poor, and to contemplating the renewal of society beginning with the needs of the poor”.
While he did not say when he expected the new document to be completed, he said it would “indicate a Gospel approach to combating poverty” and raise Catholics’ consciousness about poverty, especially the fact that women and children formed the biggest portion of the extremely poor people in the world.
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