Pope Francis welcomed members of the global Jubilee movement to the Vatican on Wednesday as they were received for high level meetings with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The Catholic Church, various Christian Churches, Jewish groups and trade unions founded the global Jubilee campaign that successfully cancelled more than 130 billion dollars in sovereign debt and has won tax policies to benefit people living in the poorest countries of the world.
"The Catholic Church was a founder of the global Jubilee movement and is a vital partner in joint efforts to build an economy that serves and protects the poor," noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the interfaith antipoverty organization known as Jubilee USA Network. "During our meetings we discussed how debt burdens, corporate tax avoidance and destructive trade polices trap hundreds of millions of people in extreme poverty."
In the tower of the Papal Palace, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin formally received Jubilee USA and global Jubilee counterparts from Africa, the Caribbean and Europe. They discussed a range of common interests from curbing corporate tax avoidance to making big banks and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) more transparent. The groups highlighted the critical interfaith efforts to establish an international bankruptcy process for countries and the formation of the Caribbean Debt Network to combat a new wave of IMF austerity measures on the small islands.
"Cardinal Parolin is a very holy person. Not only did he affirm our efforts, but more importantly he noted the great importance of Jubilee's interfaith efforts that bring Muslims, Jews and Christians together to end extreme poverty," shared LeCompte.
During the audience with Pope Francis, the global Jubilee movement presented several gifts, including an official copy of Jubilee USA's Supreme Court filing in the case between Argentina and predatory hedge funds. The case will impact people living in extreme poverty around the world.
"Pope Francis is challenging the policies that keep people poor. He is an important ally in efforts to stop austerity policies and to encourage corporations to pay their taxes," said LeCompte.
Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations, 400 faith communities and 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee's mission is to build an economy that serves, protects and promotes participation of the most vulnerable. Jubilee USA has won critical global financial reforms and more than $130 billion in debt relief to benefit the world's poorest people. www.jubileeusa.org