VATICAN CITY (CNS) (November 3, 1999) -- Here is the Vatican text of Pope John Paul II's remarks in English at his weekly general audience Nov. 3.
Dear brothers and sisters,
As we prepare to celebrate the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, we are reflecting today on the question of international debt. In the jubilee years of Old Testament times, people recovered family property lost through payment of debt, and those who had lost their freedom through debt were freed. This was because the land belonged to God, who gave it to the whole community to use for its own benefit. The jubilee reminds us of the demands of the common good and of the fact that the world's resources are meant for everyone. It is thus an appropriate time to give thought "to reducing substantially, if not canceling outright, the international debt which seriously threatens the future of many nations'' ("Tertio Millennio Adveniente,'' 51).
The question of international debt is not purely economic, but has a clear moral dimension and calls for a new sense of solidarity with the poor in order to avoid catastrophic consequences. In canceling or reducing this debt, the jubilee can be the occasion for the international community to give a credible sign of a new way of understanding wealth in terms of the common good.
I extend a cordial welcome to the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims. In particular I greet the Catholic-Jewish pilgrimage of the Archdiocese of Boston and the New England Anti-Defamation League. Upon all of you, from England, Finland, the Philippines and the United States, I invoke almighty God's abundant blessings.
Copyright (c) 1999 Catholic News Service/U.S. Catholic Conference