Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 3, 2008
Global poverty persistent, but it can be overcome
Developed nations called on to trade, give aid, forgive debt
By MARK PATTISON
“Trade rules are stacked in favour of rich countries and multinational companies.”
- Lesley-Anne Knight
Nutrition-based health care, she added, would run about $13 billion a year, about two-thirds of what Americans and Europeans spend each year on pet food. Child nutrition, according to Knight, would cost $12 billion a year, the equivalent of U.S. and European annual expenditures on perfume.
The Catholic Campaign Against Global Poverty, which is being spearheaded by many Caritas agencies, focuses not only on aid, but on trade and debt.
“Trade rules are stacked in favour of rich countries and multinational companies,” Knight declared, and against the citizens in developing countries, “most of whom make their living from agriculture.”
Meanwhile, African nations are seen as failures, she said, if they do not live up to their end of the Millennium Development Goals, a series of eight objectives, to be reached by 2015, ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education.
“It is not a failure for that nation. It is a failure for all the developed countries,” Knight said, and urged greater debt relief for poor countries.
Norman Francis, president of Xavier University of New Orleans, said poverty should not still persist in the United States. “It is immoral for the United States, for its place in the world, to have the extent of poverty it has,” he said. “Everybody knows education is the key to eradicating poverty.”
John Carr, the U.S. bishops’ secretary for social development and world peace, said Catholics are a mixed lot politically, caring for both human life as well as human dignity, and caring for the earth as well as “the wretched of the earth.”
He added Catholics have to press lawmakers to recognize the connections Catholics have made on the political issues of the day, although it may not be an easy thing to do. “There are worse things you can do than to stand up for what you believe in and lose.”
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