Scotland s Roman Catholic Bishops this morning met with International development minister, George Foulkes, during a visit by the Minister to the new headquarters of SCIAF, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund.
During the Visit, the Bishops took the opportunity to thank the Government for its commitment to ending the scandal of Third World Debt and urged further pressure for a full cancellation of debt during the year 2000.
Bishop John Mone, the President of SCIAF, said: "This government has done a very great deal to promote the cancellation of unpayable debts in the run up to the Jubilee Year 2000. In recent months that call has been taken up by President Clinton and there is now very real hope that concrete steps will be taken to lift this intolerable burden on developing countries.
"We would like the Government to step up the pressure on its international partners so that the new millennium can start debt free for some of the world s poorest peoples."
Cardinal Thomas Winning, Archbishop Keith O Brien and Bishop Maurice Taylor met with the minister and his advisers for two hours and both sides expressed satisfaction with the outcome.
The Bishops expressed their concern over Government support for contraception programmes in the Third World.
Cardinal Winning said: "The Church s position on contraception and abortion is well known. What we ask is that the Government give at least parity of esteem in promoting the natural methods of regulating births. These are effective, safe and cheap and they respect the culture and traditions of people on developing countries.
"We also look forward to the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland participating more fully in policy discussions on international development and to further meetings on a regular basis."
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