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Rome Reports

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Fight Poverty To Build Peace, Pope Says

Benedict XVI underlined the moral implications of poverty. He said even wealthy countries are afflicted with marginalization, moral and spiritual poverty and a lack of solidarity. That?s why in order to change the structures of power that rule societies today, we need to change lifestyles and the models of production and consumption. With the message presented at the Vatican, "Fighting poverty, build peace," the Pope reflected on the economic crisis and said that the mechanisms of international finances are too often handled by goals for the short term, and that needs to be reformed. Card Renato Raffaele MartinoPresident, Pontifical Council for Justice and PeaceWhen the market is left to its own devices, its sole purpose is to make as much money as possible and this is immoral. Profit is necessary, otherwise the market wouldn?t exist at all, but it must be reached within the control of the institutions, of the State, of the consumers, and taking into account all those who helped to produce these benefits, like workers and all those who should be able to reap the benefits. So far, it was not like this and therefore it is urgent that this crisis make everyone rethink the rules. Benedict XVI called for rich countries to take an introspective look at the effects of their arms race: while hunger struck 40 million people more than last year - which means nearly one billion people in the world - rich countries have increased expenses on armaments. Card Renato Raffaele MartinoPresident, Pontifical Council for Justice and PeaceWorld military expenditure in 2007 was equivalent to 1339 billion dollars, an increase of 6% compared to 2006 (1.204 billion dollars) and an increase of 45% compared to the decade 1998-2007.The message of this year seems to be a warning about the need to regulate globalization, international trade and aid for development. Perhaps it?s a sneak peak at the Pope?s social encyclical, "Caritas in veritate", expected to be published in January.