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Jubilee 2025: Pope Francis issues new call for debt cancellation

11 May 2024
Pope Francis stock photo

The document, named 'Spes non confundit', outlines the Pope's vision for the Church's Jubilee year

Pope Francis has said cancelling debts of countries unable to repay them is "a matter of justice".

The call comes in a message outlining the Pope's vision for the Catholic Church's Jubilee year in 2025.

The Pope also called in the document – titled 'Spes non confundit', or 'Hope does not disappoint' – for an end to arms sales and renewed action to tackle poverty and hunger.

The document, known as a 'Bull of Indiction', has been published ahead of the Jubilee year, which will run from Christmas Eve 2024 until early 2026 and which is themed 'Pilgrims of Hope'.

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More than 3 billion people are living in countries where governments are spending more money on debts than on health or education.

Debt cancellation is 'justice, not generosity'

Pope Francis says in the document that rich countries must cancel debts owed by lower-income countries not out of "of generosity", but "of justice". The Pope says this is because these countries are unable to repay debts, and argues an "ecological debt" is owed by richer countries due to "the disproportionate use of natural resources by certain countries over long periods of time".

If we really wish to prepare a path to peace in our world, let us commit ourselves to remedying the remote causes of injustice, settling unjust and unpayable debts, and feeding the hungry

Pope Francis - Spes non confundit, #16

The Pope also appeals for an end to wars around the world, criticising world leaders for failing to respond to the "desperate plea" of people affected by conflicts around the world. Francis goes on to call for leaders to pursue diplomacy and negotiations for peace and repeats a demand for money spent on weapons to be diverted to "a global fund that can finally put an end to hunger and favour development in the most impoverished countries".

The theme of hope runs through the Jubilee document, with the Pope outlining multiple 'signs of hope' that include the desire for peace and care for migrants, elderly and sick people and young people.

Jubilee document gives 'vision of hope'

Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD, said:

“Pope Francis has outlined a vision of hope that should inspire the world during the coming Jubilee year.

“But the Pope hasn’t just set out reasons for hope. He’s set us a challenge to give witness to that hope – as individuals and as a society.

“The Holy Father is clear that leaders must ensure the hopes of so many of our global family aren’t quashed by the debt crisis dozens of countries face. Francis explains that debt cancellation is a matter of justice, with numerous governments having to make an appalling choice between paying for basic public services or repaying private creditors.

“Whether by tackling the debt crisis, the climate emergency or the suffering driven by conflict, we’ll be praying that our leaders respond to the Pope’s challenge to tackle injustice and spread hope during the Jubilee. We know CAFOD supporters will be calling in their thousands for them to do so.”

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