DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     November 4, 1999     vol. 10, no. 209

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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REDUCE DEBT OR RISK DISASTER, POPE WARNS

        VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- At his weekly public audience for November 3, Pope John Paul II repeated and reinforced his call for a reduction in the burden of international debt.

        "In the globalized economy, the problem of debt requires real solidarity, if we are not to arrive at a general catastrophe," the Holy Father said to the 12,000 people who had gathered for his weekly appearance in St. Peter's Square.

        In his talk-- a continuation of his series on the Jubilee-- the Pontiff said that the Christian understanding of the Jubilee should lead lenders to recognize the value of forgiving loans, and that concerted action to reduce debt should be seen in the context of "the common good and the universal destination the goods of the earth."

        The "fundamental principles of ethics" should also help creditors to understand that borrowers "should not be put under unbearable pressure" by the loans, the Pope continued. And since an economic collapse on the indebted nations would in turn put new burdens on the lenders, the Pope explained that "an important reduction-- if not total erasure-- of international debt" is now an economic as well as moral requirement; the alternative is "general catastrophe."

        The Jubilee, the Pope concluded, affords an ideal occasion for the remission of debts. Such a move, he said, would signal "a new way of looking at wealth in service to the common good."


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November 4, 1999       volume 10, no. 209
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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