Thu 23 Sep 1999 16:38
POPE MEETS BONO AND GELDOF
Pope John Paul II met up with U2's Bono and Bob Geldof today (September 23) and made an appeal for world leaders to cancel debts to the poorest countries. At the meeting for the Jubilee 2000 cause, which marked 100 days to the millennium, the Pope urged world leaders that "it is the poor that pay the cost of indecision and delay."
The Jubilee 2000 campaign, which was launched at this year's Brit Awards in February by Bono and Muhammad Ali, aims to resolve the debt crisis that afflicts the world's poorest countries. Bono said after the meeting with John Paul II: "Who could turn this man (the Pope) down?"
Bob Geldof also commented: "Were the spirit of this frail old man mirrored in a practical way by our political leaders, then the final push of political will to eradicate this unnecessary tragedy, would be easily achieved...and I liked his shoes!"
February 20th, 2002 (from an interview here)
The pope gave his blessing to the cause. In return Bono gave him a book of Irish poetry and a pair of his trademark sunglasses. "He was just staring at them in my hand," Bono recalls. "And I just gave them to him and said, 'As well as a great holy man you're a great showman.' " "He surprised everybody, particularly the Vatican courtiers, 'cause he put them on and kind of smiled at me, devilishly, I might say," Bono adds. The Vatican never released those pictures, which may be just as well. Bono worries that celebrities can trivialize an issue even as they draw attention to it.
While we can't say that many of our politicians ever embraced the spirit of the Pope, we are happy to report that the subsequent debt reductions resulting from this early meeting were substantial. However, there is still work to be done. Please click on the link for the One Campaign to the right of this blog and make a donation to the worthwhile cause of providing relief for those suffering in poverty in the Third World.