VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI appealed on Thursday for courageous displays of brotherhood in the face of the global economic crisis, which he said has left people "searching for signs of hope."
The pope also expressed worry that hope risks being diminished amid "the growing trouble, the weakening of families, the uncertainty of conditions facing youth."
"The global economic crisis is a further sign of the times that requires the courage of brotherhood," Benedict said, addressing members of Caritas Italiana, the Italian branch of the Catholic organization that does charity work worldwide.
"The divide between north and south in the world, and the harm to human dignity of so many people, require charity that is capable of expanding in concentric circles, from small economic systems to large ones," Benedict said, referring to the development gap between wealthy nations and poor ones.
Benedict said humanity needs "not only benefactors, but humble and concrete people as well," who "know how to put themselves at the side of their brothers, sharing some of their toil."
"In other words, humanity is seaching for signs of hope,"' the pontiff said
He told his audience in St. Peter's Basilica that "taking care of the needy means not just giving bread to the hungry, but also letting yourself ponder the causes why the other person is hungry."