Wednesday, June 24, 2009


WASHINGTON— In a letter to leaders participating in the G8 Summit in Italy,
July 8-10, the presidents of the Catholic bishops' conferences of the G8
nations urged Summit leaders to "take concerted actions to protect poor
persons and assist developing countries."

The bishops observed that poor persons and nations have contributed the
least to creating the economic crisis and to the human cause of global
climate change, but in both cases are likely to suffer tragic consequences.
The conference presidents wrote: "Our moral tradition commits the Church to
protecting human life and dignity, especially of the poorest, most
vulnerable members of the human family. In the faces of poor persons the
Catholic Church sees the face of Christ whom we serve in countries
throughout the world."

The G8 leaders include President Obama and the heads of state of Canada,
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation and the United
Kingdom. Cardinal Francis George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), signed the letter, dated June 22.

The bishops reiterated Pope Benedict XVI's call that foreign assistance to
developing countries not become a casualty of the financial crisis.

They wrote: "Ironically poor people have contributed the least to the economic
crisis facing our world, but their lives and livelihoods are likely to
suffer the greatest devastation because they struggle at the margins in
crushing poverty." The bishops called for "deepening partnerships with
developing countries so that their peoples can be active agents in their
own development, participating in political, governmental, economic and
social reforms that serve the common good of all."

Moving to the issue of global climate change, the bishops noted that "poor
countries and peoples who have contributed the least to the human factors driving global climate change are most at risk of its harmful consequences."

They wrote: "Concrete commitments should be agreed upon and mechanisms should be created to mitigate additional global climate change
and to help poor persons and developing nations adapt to its effects as
well as to adopt appropriate technologies for sustainable development."

The bishops concluded, "The G8 Summit takes place in the shadow of a global
economic crisis, but its actions can help bring a light of hope to our
world. By asking first how a given policy will affect the poor and the
vulnerable, you can help assure that the common good of all is served. As a
human family we are only as healthy as our weakest members."

The full text of the letter can be found on the USCCB Web Site at

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