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Updated: February 4, 2010 20:36 IST

Pope blames indifference for hunger deaths

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Pope Benedict XVI. File photo: AP.
Pope Benedict XVI. File photo: AP.

Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday blamed indifference as the fundamental cause of hundreds of millions of deaths in the world from lack of food, water and medicine.

Pope Benedict chose justice and injustice as the theme of his Lenten message released by the Vatican on Thursday in several languages.

Lent, a period of reflection and penitence in the Roman Catholic church, begins this year on Ash Wednesday, February 17. Pope Benedict said this Lenten season he wants people to reflect on what justice really means for human beings.

Jesus, who fed crowds of followers and healed the sick while he preached, “surely condemns the indifference that even today forces hundreds of millions into death through lack of food, water and medicine,” the pope said, without citing any country or region in the world.

“Injustice, the fruit of evil, does not have exclusively external roots. Its origin lies in the human heart, where the seeds are found of a mysterious cooperation with evil,” Pope Benedict wrote in his message.

Lent prepares Catholics for the church’s most important holy day, Easter, which this year falls on April 4.

The 72-year-old Pope Benedict will lead several Holy Week services starting with Palm Sunday Mass on March 28 in St. Peter’s Square. Among his appearances will be the traditional way of the Cross procession at the Colosseum on Good Friday.

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