WASHINGTON (May 15, 1998) -- The chairman of the U.S. Bishops' International Policy Committee yesterday reminded the leaders of the Group of Eight nations gathering in England for their annual summit of the "moral obligation of creditor nations to contribute to the well being of millions of poor people around the world."
In a letter delivered to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick of Newark (NJ) urged further and decisive action to forgive the unpayable external debts of the world's poorest countries. He said that such action "would be a step toward establishing a just and equitable international economic system."
Archbishop McCarrick called attention Pope John Paul II's outline for celebrating the Year 2000, which he has declared a Jubilee Year. In his 1994 message Tertio Millenio Adveniente, the Pope recalled the Old Testament practice of forgiving debts during a jubilee year.
"To offer the poorest debt ridden countries faster and more generous help now will require political leadership as well as extra financial contributions," said Archbishop McCarrick.
He acknowledged the contributions already made by creditor nations through the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative, but noted that HIPC could be improved upon to to provide more rapid and effective debt relief, and said that additional assistance was needed especially for countries emerging from conflict.