Pope appeals for solidarity with Africa

 Pope John Paul II has appealed for all Africans to work together in the fight against poverty and called for the world community to support them. Speaking this morning to Desire Koumba, Gabon's new ambassador to the Holy See, he said: "While the continent continues to bitterly suffer from the various conflicts which plague it," he said, "I appeal once again and with insistence to all Africans to mobilize in order to work hand in hand .. to make their lands into livable places, in which each one can have his share of the natural resources." He said that leaders must create conditions for "an integral development, marked by solidarity." John Paul II stressed that "every member of the international community... (should) participate in civic life, so that states of law and democratic institutions are consolidated, which must promote ... the honest administration of the common good, respect for persons and ethnic communities and the defense of the poorest and of families." The Pope then highlighted the extreme poverty suffered by "numerous African countries." He invited "the legitimate authorities of these countries to pursue the fight against all forms of poverty that ruin the hopes of individuals and peoples, thus feeding violence and extremism of every kind. In this spirit, I also call for a new elan in international cooperation which must be rethought in terms of a culture of solidarity to fight the negative effects linked to globalization." To promote "this ethic of solidarity," the Pope asked "the international community to pursue its efforts to sustain, notably by rethinking the debt of African countries, local initiatives that involve the population." He then dedicated remarks to relations between the Holy See and Gabon, noting that "cooperation has already borne fruit, especially the signing and ratification of the 'Agreement-framework between the Holy See and the Gabonese Republic on the principles and certain juridical dispositions concerning their relations and collaboration'." He also mentioned the recently signed Agreement on the statute of Catholic teaching, saying that "the Church wishes to bring in a specific way an efficacious contribution to the human, spiritual, moral and civic formation of young people who are the leaders and decision-makers of tomorrow." source: Vatican Information Service

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