Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

A Time to Act

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

A Time to Act

Article excerpt

Our story about Darfur (see Page 10) caused us to imagine an apostolic letter from Pope Benedict XVI that initiates bold measures to address the situation facing the human family. We respectfully submit this very rough draft.

To my brothers and sisters in the universal church, and to all who by office or by conscience are responsible for the welfare of the human family. Urgent greetings.

We regard it our highest duty before God and before the councils of human discernment to express our concern over the suffering and hopelessness visited on so many of our brothers and sisters for causes that could be alleviated by ordinary means with available resources. That such suffering occurs unabated exposes the failure of global economic systems that determine how common goods are shared among the children of this world.

We believe this failure to be at the root of other moral failures, especially the scourge of war in all its forms, hunger and disease, the plight of mil lions of refugees and the scandalous disparity that divides the world into the fortunate few and the desperate many.

It is, for this reason, fitting that the church, in imitation of her divine exemplar, position herself among those poor and dispossessed peoples God has promised to be with.

Therefore, in our role as the servant of the servants of God, we have directed that the essential administrative functions of the papal office be reconfigured for relocation to the Darfur region of the Sudan. In cooperation with civil and religious officials of that stricken nation, the church will convene the human and material resources needed to address effectively and immediately the vast human suffering inflicted on that region by civil war, religious strife and weather-related disasters.

In our office as chief shepherd, we have directed the Vatican's diplomatic office to draw up a list of the world's most desperate and neglected regions as the successive locations for our pastoral presence. …

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