Bono: Catholics Should be Made Aware of How Their Church Helped Secure Debt Forgiveness

Bono speaks at the International Herald Tribune’s Luxury Business Conference on Nov. 16, 2012 in Rome, Italy. Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Christians seldom hear the good news of their faith from contemporary media.

Instead, we are inundated with attacks on the faith which seek to condemn all Christians and indeed Christ Himself based on various “crimes” committed by Christians, many of them hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

No one in the popular media talks about the civilization-building influence of Christianity, the total reversal of the view of the value of individual people from that of the ancient world. Instead, they seek to condemn all of us and, as I said, Christ Himself, based on the fact that the leaven of Christianity has worked and is working slowly through the centuries and not all at once to bring the Kingdom.

The good things of the modern world, individual liberty and freedom, the value of the individual human person in life and law, are all innovations of the Western world which found its driving inspiration in the teachings of the Gospels of Christ and the message of the Cross.

Here is one small example of a good the Church helped bring about. Read it and enjoy it. You won’t hear about it on any of the cable shows dissecting and attacking the Gospel narratives of the Nativity that will be on air for the next few weeks. Neither will you see it in any “coverage” of Christianity or of the Church.

The CNA/EWTN article describing Bono’s visit and comments about the Catholic Church’s pivotal role in the debt forgiveness of and how it helped build schools reads in part:

Vatican City, Nov 16, 2012 / 06:10 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The famous U2 vocalist Bono traveled to the Vatican Nov. 16 to thank the Church for its work to free the world’s least developed countries from their foreign debt, enabling them to invest in education.

On Friday, Bono spent nearly an hour speaking with Cardinal Peter K. Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, according to Vatican Radio.

In 2000, the Church was an important backer of the “Drop the Debt” campaign, which coincided with the Church’s jubilee year. Bono was one of the leading figures in the campaign, and is known for his activism for world’s poorest people.

Drop the Debt was an effort to persuade first-world nations to forgive the debt owed them by the poorest countries. The success of that effort has made possible “an extra 52 million children going to school,” Bono told Vatican Radio, since governments were able to use the money they would have had to pay back for investment in schools.

Bono said the Church deserves “incredible credit” for their role in securing debt forgiveness, and that Catholics should be made aware of how their faith was central in the efforts.

Jubilee years are celebrations of God’s mercy, the forgiveness of sins, and reconciliation, and are rooted in Jewish tradition.

The Jewish tradition of jubilee years was that every 50th year, slaves and prisoners were freed. Debts were also forgiven, which is why the Great Jubilee of 2000 was an opportune time for the Church to advocate forgiveness of foreign debt.

Pope John Paul II met with Bono on the eve of the Jubilee year to discuss the debt campaign, and shortly after his death, Bono recalled that “we would never have gotten the debts of 23 countries completely canceled without him.” (Read more here.)

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  • largebill

    If the debt was forgiven voluntarily by those the monies were borrowed from then maybe this would be a good thing. However, good for nothing politicians forgiving debts owed to others is very immoral and disgusting. Beyond that, coerced debt forgiveness does nothing but convince people and nations not to lend money to developing countries as they will feel no compelling need to pay the loans back.

    • Ted Seeber

      ” coerced debt forgiveness does nothing but convince people and nations not to lend money to developing countries ”

      And in most cases, that’s a good thing, as it is often debt secured by a despot based on future payment from a country’s taxes; at which point said despot borrows as much as possible, absconds with the profit, while leaving the people in the country to pay back a loan they did not profit from.

      This is considered good business by those who would separate economics from morality. But it is the PRIMARY cause of third world poverty and even cases like Zimbabwe, where they devalue the currency to pay back the loan, thus harming both the lender and the people.

      And that, folks, is why caritas is better than capitalism.

  • Indy

    Thank you Rebecca – it was great to hear something positive this morning. God bless.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Indy. If you have other positive stories about the Church, please pass them on.


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