07/17/2020, 10.15
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Card. Tagle: Stop debt and war, recipe for the recovery of the Middle East

The Prefect of Propaganda Fidae and president of Caritas Internationalis presents the annual report of the charitable organization.  Calls for a ceasefire in the Middle East and for debt relief to weaker nations.  Covid-19 will bring disastrous consequences not only in the health sector, but globally.  The full text of his address.

Rome (AsiaNews) - Public debt and international sanctions mainly affect the innocent civilians of many warring nations, and this is an injustice that must be remedied.  Similarly, the world must prepare for the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic not only in health, but globally, said Card. Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, prefect of Propaganda Fidae, presenting the 2019 Annual Report of Caritas Internationalis (of which he is president).

The press conference, streamed due to social restrictions imposed by the virus, was also attended by Caritas Internationalis secretary general Aloysius John, Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, president of Caritas South Africa and Rita Rhayem, director of Caritas Lebanon.  Below is the complete text of Card.Tagle's address.

I am pleased to present the annual report of 2019 at a crucial moment of change. This presentation also takes place in a spirit of hope for the future, especially at a time when humanity is confronted with a major health crisis which has affected everybody. COVID-19 has brought to light the fragility of our existence.
Pope Francis has repeatedly reminded us that we are before a new start and our world after COVID-19 cannot and must no longer be the same. 
COVID-19 has also placed our Caritas Confederation in front of an unprecedented situation that could have led to the interruption of many programs and even to the closure of some offices. But instead, each of the 162 Caritas organizations operating in about 200 countries and territories has been able to respond promptly to the emergency by increasing its programs and also harnessing creativity to be able to reach the most vulnerable, to take care of them , to inform them about the pandemic and to enable them to protect themselves.
2019 was a year of change for Caritas Internationalis: a new Secretary General to lead the organisation, the renewal of governance structure and major humanitarian crises addressed in different parts of the world. The global nature of the suffering made us more aware that we belong to one human family and we need each other.  We began to see human connectedness more clearly. 
Caritas Internationalis has been a sign of hope for those left on the wayside of our society. But we cannot limit ourselves to the emergency response. Our task is to accompany the poor and most vulnerable, to enhance their involvement in their human development and to reflect on how this pandemic has changed the context in which we live and do our work.
In the light of all these changes, Caritas Internationalis wants to bring new responses to the contemporary challenges by adapting its vision, orientations, and structures to accompany the Confederation toward 2030. Caritas will continue to manifest the care of the Church for the poorest whom we serve, to give voice to the voiceless and to promote integral human development and integral ecology with Laudato si’ being a focal point of our action.
Caritas invites everyone, especially decision makers, to be prepared to face the dramatic consequences of this pandemic not only in the area of healthcare but also the risk of starvation for millions of people.
Today we cannot be blind to the dire and deteriorating living conditions of the people in Lebanon, Syria and the other countries in the Middle East. The simple and poor citizens are the victims of economic sanctions. The threat of COVID 19 makes their difficult lives more precarious.
The international debt of the poorest countries in Africa, some parts of Latin America and Asia has had major social and economic consequences. Pope Francis has consistently urged that the debt be cancelled to give those countries the possibility to pursue paths of recovery and development.
One of the major problems of social justice is war and violence. Millions have been rendered homeless, many have been deprived of their means of livelihood. We cannot ensure human dignity and development in the context of war and violence. Caritas joins Pope Francis´ call for a global ceasefire.
Caritas prays, acts and serves to bring the love of Jesus and the Church to everyone especially the poor.


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