Geneva (Fides Service) – “Poverty is not longer a fatality! To free people from it is therefore a moral obligation for the conscience of humanity”. This quote from Pope John Paul II’s Message for World Peace Day 2003 was made by Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi when, as head of the Holy See Delegation, he addressed the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Bishop Crepaldi, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, is attending the 91st International Labour Conference which has adopted the theme “Freedom from poverty through work”.
Quoting the Centesimus Annus document, the Bishops said “it is necessary to put aside the idea that the poor, individuals and nations, are a burden…the poor ask only to put to good use their ability to work to create a world more just and more prosperous for everyone. The progress of the poor is a great opportunity for the moral, cultural and also the economic growth of all humanity”.
After recalling the international community’s commitment to reduce by half, before 2015, the number of people living in extreme poverty, Bishop Crespaldi stressed – as did the Pope in the above mentioned Message – the need to keep promises made to the poor, to avoid the tragic increase of their suffering due to loss of trust with the final result of the loss of all hope.
The Head of the Holy See delegation did not fail to draw the attention of those responsible for labour policies, at the national and international level, to the fundamental problem of unemployed youth. The difficulty of the task is obviously enormous, but it is necessary to conjugate the greatness of the objective with a sense of reality, emphasising particularly the need for participation, a concrete manner of anchoring the process of freeing people from poverty to the local situations. SL (Fides Service 16/6/2003 EM lines 22 Words: 283)