scmo_banner_news.jpg


The Catholic bishops of Great Britain today publish a comprehensive statement calling far the remission of the unpayable debts of the world's poorest countries. The 3,000-word document, 'Life, Debt and Jubilee', is launched in advance of the G8 Summit in Cologne in June, and on the eve of the 'Great Jubilee' of the year 2000.

In their statement, the bishops say that debt remission has become a "practical necessity in order to tackle global poverty". Recent increases in British aid are welcomed, but commitment to poverty elimination of all governments, both debtor and creditor, is called for.

The statement is to be published by CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) and SCIAF (Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund), and made available in Catholic parishes across the country.

An executive summary of `Life, Debt and Jubilee' - prepared by CAFOD - follows.

On the eve of the Great Jubilee remission of the unpayable debt of the poorest and most indebted countries has become an achievable and practical necessity (1). Such remission requires commitment on the part of governments - to carry it out and to find the necessary resources.

Remission of unpayable debt should be our way of honouring the Old Testament promises of Jubilee and fulfilling Christ's proclamation of good news to the poor and "the year of the Lord's favour" (2). The gap between the rich and the poor is widening and the terms on which the poorest nations compete in the global market are deteriorating. We live in a world of extreme inequality - where the combined income of the 225 richest people is equal to the annual income of the poorest 47 percent and where more than one billion people will go hungry for most of their lives (3).

Remission of debt is an essential precondition for the achievement of the international poverty target of halving the numbers living in extreme poverty by 2015 (4). Commitment to the targets on the part of rich governments will be measured not only by debt reduction but also by increased development assistance in the years to come.

Private citizens have a role to play alongside governments and have been directly challenged to increase voluntary giving by the Chancellor (5). Commitment on the part of debtor governments lies in ensuring that additional resources are targeted to the poorest and used with efficiency (6).

The 2015 poverty targets underline the urgency of using the unique opportunity offered by the approaching millennium - the Great Jubilee - to remit the unpayable debt of the poorest countries (7). The Pope has called for the substantial reduction "if not outright cancellation of international debt which seriously threatens the future of many nations" and has urged Christians to take action (8).

Action on debt is required because the burden of unpayable debt falls most heavily on the poor (9). Debt service payments undermine education and health services and prospects of future development. The present Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, relying as it does on a track record of six years of stringent financial management, ignores the backlog of poverty and neglect accumulated over the years, a backlog that must be addressed through investment and improved services if the poor are to face the new millennium with any degree of hope for development (11).

Debt reduction should be a forward-looking measure (13). The proceeds of debt reduction should be allocated to agreed programmes of health, education and investment. Such programmes, together with new lending, should be rigorously monitored by means of mechanisms involving civil society, both to prevent the accumulation of unpayable debt in the future and to ensure that funds are not diverted from their agreed purpose.

The churches and Jubilee 2000 have sent a strong message to governments and finance ministers in the North that they should find the resources needed to remit debt on the scale required to give the poorest and most indebted countries a new beginning, thus giving the dawning of the new millennium a strong ethical dimension and to ensure that this Jubilee is proclaimed for the poor and will be celebrated by the poor (14).

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 95 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Subscribe to News updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS

‹ Return to News

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Bishop calls on UK Government to sign and ratify Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

| 25th May 2018 | Blogging

25 May 2018   Bishop William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway and President of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Bishops Conference of Scotland, will tomorrow (Saturday 26 May) at 12 noon join other Church leaders and campaigners in calling for the Secretary of State to sign and ratify the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.   Taking part in the Pentecost Witness at Faslane Naval Base alongside representatives of the Church of Scotland and Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop Nolan will call on the Secretary of State to urgently develop and publish a transition plan so that the UK is ready to sign and ratify the Treaty.   Commenting ahead of the event tomorrow, Bishop Nolan said:   “We believe in the dignity and right to life of every human being. The threat of nuclear arms poisons the soul of humanity, and their use by any state or leader would be an immoral act against humanity and against God’s creation.”   The Treaty opened for signature at the United Nations on 20 September 2017. Once ratified, it will make the possession, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons illegal under international law.   ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291  pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org Notes to Editors: 1. Full text of the letter sent to the Secretary of State is copied below 2. An image of Bishop Nolan is available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/25508101134/in/album- 72157666531058155/ Full text of Letter Dear Secretary of State, As you are aware, the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at the UN on 20 September 2017. Once ratified, this treaty will make the possession use and threat of use of nuclear weapons illegal under international law. We believe in the dignity and right to life of every human being and that nuclear weapons violate that dignity and threaten that life. It is evident that the use of nuclear weapons would have indiscriminate and devastating humanitarian consequences that would extend beyond the borders of any single nation state. The World Council of Churches has stated ‘that as long as such weapons exist, they pose a threat to humanity and to creation’. Pope Francis has condemned not just the threat of use, but the possession of nuclear arms as they serve to create a culture of fear for all humankind and consume vast amounts of human and financial resources that could be better used for human development. The threat of nuclear arms poisons the soul of humanity, and their use by any state or leader would be an immoral act against humanity and against creation. Those signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons agreed not to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess, stockpile, transfer or receive nuclear weapons. The 122 governments so far who have signed the Treaty recognise along with countless numbers of people throughout the world that we have lived with these weapons for far too long and that they must now be outlawed and eliminated. Successive governments of both major parties have affirmed their commitment to multilateral disarmament for the last 50 years, however the decision by Parliament to spend billions of pounds renewing the UK’s arsenal of mass destruction in times of austerity is not a commitment to peacebuilding and is contrary to our commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The British Government, by signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, would be taking a positive step towards fulfilling those commitments. We, the undersigned, ask you to urgently develop and publish a transition plan so that the UK is ready to sign and ratify the treaty at the earliest opportunity. We pledge to continue to do our part to realise a world without nuclear weapons. Bishop William Nolan President of the Scottish Catholic Bishops’ Justice and ...

New Safeguarding Manual comes into force

| 21st May 2018 | Blogging

In a letter sent to all Catholic parishes over the weekend, Bishop Joseph Toal, who is responsible for Safeguarding on behalf of the Bishops ofScotland,has marked the publication of new national Safeguarding standards which come into force on Monday 21stMay.   In his letter, Bishop Toal commends the publication of ‘In God’s Image’, a new and extensive manual which offers comprehensive guidance and instruction on every aspect of Safeguarding in the Catholic Church.   On behalf of all the Bishops of Scotland, he writes:   “Your Bishops want you to know that we aspire to the highest standards of care and protection of all, and we are committed to rebuilding trust and confidence in the ways in which we ensure that children, young people and vulnerable adults are kept safe.”   The publication of these new materials marks the end of a period in which the Church has been implementing the recommendations of the McLellan Commission that reported in 2015, with rigorous oversight by an Independent Review Group chaired by Baroness Helen Liddell.   Bishop Toal states that engagement with survivors will continue to be an important task for the Church:   “For some years now, each Bishop has been meeting with survivors and will continue to do so. Given the profound and sensitive nature of this issue, such encounters take place discreetly, at times and paces suited to the needs of survivors.”   Adding:   “Through the protection and care we show to all, and through the compassion, healing and justice we offer to those who have survived abuse, we must continue to renew, rebuild and restore faith and hope in the church by offering faith and hope to one another. “   ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org     Notes to Editors:   The new manual can be viewed here:    https://ingodsimage.bcos.org.uk/      Full text of the letter sent to parishes is copied below.   Pastoral Letter for distribution to Congregations on Pentecost Sunday 2018   My Dear People,   I write, on behalf of all the Bishops of Scotland, to draw your attention to the publication of our Church’s new Safeguarding materials which come into force on 21stMay 2018.  These include ‘In God’s Image’, the document which offerscomprehensive guidance and instruction on every aspect of Safeguarding, including compliance with new Safeguarding standards.  This hasbeen shaped by the recent experience and developing expertise of those involved in the front line of Safeguarding in the Church, both in Scotland and internationally.In ratifying this publication, the Bishops have taken the opportunity to repeat and renew apologies made to those who have suffered any form of abuse, at any time, by anyone representing the Church.     Your Bishops want you to know that we aspire to the highest standards of care and protection of all, and we are committed to rebuilding trust and confidence in the ways in which we ensure that children, young people and vulnerable adults are kept safe.  We are most grateful to the teams of Safeguarding personnel in all Dioceses and to over 9,000 trained volunteers who support the work of parishes and religious congregations across Scotland.     The publication of these materials marks the end of a period in which the Church has been working quietly, but tirelessly, to implement the recommendations of the McLellan Commission that reported in August 2015.     Since 2013 we have published annual audits of allegations reported to us each year. Last month, we also published a historical review of non-recent cases of abuse, covering the period 1943–2005. The publication of our annual audits, the historical review and our new Safeguarding materials demonstrate our ongoing commitment to openness and transparency.     We recognise, however, that pu...

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia backs ‘journalism of moral integrity’

| 10th May 2018 | Blogging

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Communications Commission of the Bishops Conference of Scotland, has written to all 500 Catholic parishes this weekend (12/13 May) to mark World Communications Day.     This year, Pope Francis has chosen ‘Truth’ as the theme of his Communications Day message and bemoaned the persistent spread of “fake news”. In his letter, based on the Pope’s theme, Archbishop Tartaglia writes:     “Pope Francis reminds us that Communication is part of God’s plan for us, allowing us to express and share all that is true, good and beautiful.”     Pope Francis has urged Catholics to:     “…contribute to our shared commitment to stemming the spread of fake news and of rediscovering the dignity of journalism and the personal responsibility of journalists to communicate the truth.”     Calling on Catholics to be partners in this quest for truth Archbishop Tartaglia says: “Truth is not just a conceptual reality that regards how we judge things, defining them as true or false. Rather truth involves our whole life…it carries with it the sense of support, solidarity and trust. Journalists are called to be protectors of news and to promote the truth”     ENDS     Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org Notes to Editors 1. Full text of Archbishop Targtaglia Letter is copied below. 2. Full text of Pope Francis message for World Communications Day is copied below. My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ In his message for Communications Sunday this year, Pope Francis reminds us that Communication is part of God’s plan for us, allowing us to express and share all that is true, good, and beautiful. But he warns us, that when we yield to our own pride and selfishness, we can distort our ability to communicate. The capacity to twist the truth is a human failing. Today we are witnessing the spread of what has come to be known as “fake news”. This has caused the Pope to make truth the theme of this year’s communications message, when he urges us to: “contribute to our shared commitment to stemming the spread of fake news and to rediscovering the dignity of journalism and the personal responsibility of journalists to communicate the truth.” The term “fake news” refers to the spreading of disinformation online or in the traditional media based on non-existent or distorted data designed to deceive and manipulate the reader by mimicking real news. Social networks can allow untrue stories to spread so quickly that even authoritative denials fail to contain the damage. Such disinformation can discredit and demonise while fomenting conflict and spreading arrogance and hatred. Preventing and identifying the way disinformation works calls for a profound and careful process of discernment. So how do we defend ourselves? The most radical antidote to the virus of falsehood is purification by the truth. In Christianity, truth is not just a conceptual reality that regards how we judge things, defining them as true or false. Rather, truth involves our whole life. In the Bible, it carries with it the sense of support, solidity, and trust. We discover and rediscover the truth when we experience it within ourselves in the loyalty and trustworthiness of the One who loves us. This alone can liberate us, as in the words of the Gospel according to John: "The truth will set you free". To discern the truth, we need to discern everything that encourages communion and promotes goodness. I would like to quote at length from the Pope’s message and urge you to read his text in full which is available on the website of the Catholic Media Office at www.scmo.org. The Pope says; 'The best antidotes to falsehoods are not strategies, but people: people who are not greedy but ready to listen, people...

Archbishop Leo Cushley celebrates first ever Mass in Scottish Parliament

| 28th March 2018 | Blogging

28 March 2018     Today, 28 March, at 12.30pm Archbishop Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh, will celebrate what is believed to be the first ever Mass in the Scottish Parliament. All MSPs are invited to attend mass, which takes place during Holy Week.     Commenting on the occasion, Anthony Horan, Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office said:     ‘The celebration of Holy Mass, the summit of Catholic life, is an opportunity to express prayers for the work of our elected representatives and for the common good of society. Of course, Holyrood means Holy Cross, so in that sense, parliament is a most fitting place for this historic celebration.’       Archbishop Leo Cushley said:     "It is a great privilege to be officially invited to offer Holy Mass within the Scottish Parliament, the first such invitation since the parliament's re-establishment 19 years ago. It is a generous gesture which seems to recognise that Catholics are valued participants in the civic life of contemporary Scotland, where we seek to work with others in advancing the common good."      ENDS   Peter Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291  pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org       Notes to Editors: 1. Images will be available from Paul McSherry on at paul.mcsherry@ntlworld.com or 07770393960....