Mauritius: church work in poor island states 'exceeds that of UN'

 The Holy See delegation to the United Nations Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference in Mauritius, said on Saturday: "action pledged there is needed now," stressing that "that of the Church is already visible even in remote islands in every ocean." Mgr Johannes Salzl, secretary to the Apostolic Nunciature in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Indian Ocean, and Mauritian lay and economist Pierre Dinan attended as the Ho;y See's designated observers at the one-week conference which closed on Friday. Mgr Salzl told ICN on Saturday: "it is the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN in New York which is to assess the SIDS Mauritius Declaration implementation. " This. he said, would include an examination of the natural disaster alert system and development of countries in the nunciature zone (Mauritius, Madagascar, Union of Comoros, Seychelles). So far, he added: "the conference has enriched the Nunciature's knowledge of the social and economic realities of these and other developing island States. It will be taking this into account when discussing and acting with the bishops' conference and the Holy See commissions which support their churches in various ways." "That said." he went on, "it is clear that the Church's work is already visible at islands' level, in every ocean. The Church does see to the immediate, basic material needs of their populations, remembering that Vatican II concluded that their joys and pains are also hers. But we do go beyond. Our action is meant to make Christ and his love known, to urge all to rely on his word, 'to never give up'. "One may come across a basic Church-run dispensary in a Pacific island or a small school in a tiny Indian ocean dense suburb, still this testifies that bishops, priests, nuns and brothers, lays are striving hard and hopefully so that, as the Bible has it, the love of the Lord be brought to the world's remotest islands," said Mgr Salzl. Judex Acking is a senior journalist with Le Mauricien, the leading daily in Mauritius

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