Benedict XVI urges state aid for victims of extortion


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Vatican City, Jul 1, 2009 / 11:06 am (CNA).- As typically done following his Wednesday general audience address, Pope Benedict gave public greetings to groups who were present. Today the Pope singled out an Italian group dedicated to helping those victimized by usury.

The Holy Father thanked the Italian National Anti-Usury Council for their "important and much appreciated work."

Both usury, the act of charging exorbitant interest on a loan, and the use of extortion, were condemned by the Pope.

"My hope," he added, "is that there be a renewed commitment on everyone's part effectively to combat the devastating phenomenon of usury and extortion, which constitutes a humiliating form of slavery. On the part of the State may there be no lack of appropriate aid and support for families in difficulties who find the courage to denounce those who take advantage of their often tragic situation."

People who are vacationing were also mentioned by Benedict XVI, who said he hopes that their holiday will be "serene and profitable for everyone." To the people who, for various reasons, "are unable to enjoy a vacation," he said, "goes my hope that you may not lack the solidarity and closeness of your loved ones."

Finally, "my special thoughts go to young people who are currently sitting examinations, I assure them all of a mention in my prayers."