Benedict XVI Decries Slavery to Money


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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 22, 2010 ( Benedict XVI is encouraging the Brazilian bishops in their efforts to free people from the slavery to money and bring them back to God.

The Pope stated this in a message sent for this year's Fraternity Campaign, traditionally promoted by the Church in Brazil during Lent.

The campaign, which began Wednesday, focuses on the theme, "Economy and Life," with the motto: "You cannot serve both God and money."

In the message, sent to the president of the Brazilian bishops' conference, Archbishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha of Mariana, the Pontiff wished the Brazilian Churches and ecclesial communities success in this campaign.

This is the third time that the program has been carried out through ecumenical cooperation, including five Christian churches, members of the National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil, which organized this year's campaign.

The Holy Father acknowledged that these churches "have decided to join efforts to reconcile persons with God, helping them to be released from slavery to money."

He reminded his audience that "slavery in regard to money and injustice have their origin in man's heart, where the germs are found of a mysterious coexistence with evil."

"I exhort you to persevere in giving testimony to the love of God, to the Son of God made man, to man to whom God has given life, to the only Good that can satiate the human heart."

The World Council of Churches, which includes 349 churches and more than 5 million Christians worldwide, also expressed it support of the Fraternity Campaign.

In a message it affirmed the necessity of this reflection, "discussing the interrelations between wealth and power, which generate injustice and poverty, in addition to seriously injuring God's creation."

The council noted, "Hence, it is a cause that mobilizes the Christian family not only in Brazil but throughout the world."