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 CNS Story:

POPE-PEACEDAY Jul-1-2008 (230 words) xxxi

Pope's message for World Peace Day 2009 to focus on combating poverty

By Cindy Wooden

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI's message for World Peace Day 2009 will focus on the connection between poverty and a lack of peace in the world, the Vatican said.

Poverty and malnutrition are signs that too many people have ignored the obligation to promote the common good, a commitment that is essential for promoting peace, said the Vatican's July 1 statement.

World Peace Day is celebrated Jan. 1 each year. The theme for the celebration is announced in July to allow time for local preparations. A papal message on the theme usually is released in early December.

The 2009 theme, "Combating Poverty, Building Peace," is meant "to underline the need for an urgent response by the human family to the serious question of poverty, understood as a material problem, but even more as a moral and spiritual problem," the Vatican statement said.

"The scandal of poverty demonstrates the inadequacy of current systems of human coexistence for promoting the realization of the common good," the statement said. "This makes necessary a reflection on the deep roots of material poverty as well as on the spiritual poverty that makes one indifferent to the suffering of his neighbor.

"The response must be sought first of all in the conversion of the human heart to the God of love," the statement said.

END


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