Cardinal rallies Catholics to protest at G8 summit
Apparently undeterred by the controversy surrounding Bob Geldof's call for a million people to descend on the G8 summit, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor is urging Catholics in England and Wales to mobilise and join him at the Make Poverty History rally in Edinburgh on 2 July.
Together with the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor will lead the rally, which is calling on the leaders of the G8 wealthiest nations to meet the Millennium Development Goals. The MDGs are pledges made by the G8 to halve world poverty by 2015.
Thousands of people are expected to join the 2 July rally, which the Catholic aid agency CAFOD describes as 'a peaceful, family-friendly event where the voice of Catholics will be heard by world leaders.'
CAFOD is also mobilising parishes across the country for the event.
Although details are still being worked out, it is likely that the two cardinals will concelebrate a vigil Mass on the evening of 2 July after leading the rally, which sets off at midday.
In a meditation recorded as part of BBC Radio 4's 'Sunday Worship' on Sunday, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said:
'The followers of Christ cannot be deaf to [the call of the poor] because the agonies of Africa, and of so many other parts of the world, are also our agonies. We each of us have a God-given dignity. Yet we do not arrive at our potential on our own. We need to be freed from what oppresses us - the oppression of grinding poverty, of exploitation, of despair.'
Speaking in London today, he added; 'I would like as many Catholics as possible in England and Wales to join us at the Make Poverty History rally on 2 July. Such opportunities to tip the world's scales in favour of the poor come only once or twice in a generation.
To Catholics, and to everyone of goodwill, I want to say this: Come and help us send a message to the G8 leaders on behalf of the world's poor. It is a message which says to the wealthy of this world: please, once and for all, unshackle your brothers and sisters. Implement trade justice. Cancel unpayable debt. Give more and better aid. You made pledges in the year 2000 on behalf of your people; on behalf of your people, please fulfil them.'