September 12, 2016

STOCKHOLM - Allowing people to drink unsafe water or to have no access to dependable, clean sources of water is shameful, Cardinal Peter Turkson told religious leaders.

"It is a continuing shame," too, that people's needs "are secondary to industries which take too much and that pollute what remains," said the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

It's also a shame "that governments pursue other priorities and ignore their parched cries," he said in the keynote address to an interfaith meeting Aug. 29 in Stockholm, Sweden.

The meeting on how faith-based groups could contribute to the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals dealing with water was part of Stockholm's annual World Water Week gathering, which came in the run-up to the Sept. 1 World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

At the Aug. 29 meeting, speakers represented the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist communities.

They looked at how religious communities could promote guaranteed access to sanitation and clean water for everyone.

Some 660 million people are without adequate drinking water, and every year millions, mostly children, die from diseases linked to poor water supply and sanitation.

Turkson said faith-based organizations can help youth embrace the values of "solidarity, altruism and responsibility."