With the G8 summit only one month away, the Pope has backed a call from a worldwide delegation of bishops to put poverty at the heart of the agenda.
Pope Benedict XVI received cardinals, archbishops and bishops from across the globe as part of a Catholic campaign to ensure that poverty takes centre stage at the summit of world leaders in Germany in June, reports the Aid agency Cafod.
The Pope urged the delegation of church leaders to “continue campaigning for the welfare of all human beings all over the world”.
One member of the delegation, Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez from Honduras, said: “The Pope urged the German Chancellor [Angela] Merkel to put poverty at the heart of the 2007 G8 summit, and we welcome this initiative.
"We cannot accept that poor people perish every day because they lack shelter, basic medicines and safe drinking water. The world does have the means to eliminate poverty.”
The delegation is part of the global campaign 'Make Aid Work: the World Can't Wait', co-ordinated by the international Catholic networks, CIDSE and Caritas Internationalis.
Paul Chitnis, President of CIDSE, said: “We do not only face global warming caused by climate change, we also face global warming caused by the growing anger of the dispossessed. G8 leaders have to be aware that our global situation needs urgent and adequate policy responses.”
The delegation of church leaders has toured Europe, and last week met UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, German President Horst Koehler and Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minster Romano Prodi of Italy.
In a statement, the delegation expressed their disappointment by the lack of progress on the part of the G8 countries. They said that they expect world leaders to assume responsibility for promoting human development and global solidarity.
They also called for continued efforts to resolve the problem of developing countries' debt in a sustainable and just way as well as coordinated measures against corruption, and the promises to increase development aid to be kept.