Pope: Hunger caused by 'indifference of many, selfishness of a few'

IMAGE: CNS photo/Alonso Cupul, EPA

By Junno Arocho Esteves

international community must not remain resigned to the plight of those
suffering hunger and malnutrition, which is often caused by indifference and selfishness,
Pope Francis said.

In a message to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization conference July 3, the pope said
wars, terrorism and forced displacements are not “inevitable but
rather the consequence of concrete decisions” that have led to the lack of food and
adequate nutrition to the helpless.

“We are dealing with a
complex mechanism that mainly burdens the most vulnerable, who are not only
excluded from the processes of production, but frequently obliged to leave
their lands in search of refuge and hope,” the pope said in the message
read to the conference by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

The Vatican published the
message July 3.

Cardinal Parolin also told
participants that Pope Francis would visit the FAO headquarters in Rome Oct. 16
to attend a conference on
World Food Day on the theme “Changing the future of

In his message, the pope expressed
the Holy See’s desire to help the international community “promote not
mere progress or development goals in theory, but rather the actual elimination
of hunger and malnutrition.”

“All of us realize that
the intention to provide everyone with his or her daily bread is not enough.
Rather, there is a need to recognize that all have a right to it and they must,
therefore, benefit from it,” he said.

He also said that unfulfilled
proposals to combat malnutrition were “largely dependent on the lack of a
culture of solidarity.”

The international community’s
development goals, he added, must acknowledge “that the right of every
person to be free of poverty and hunger depends on the duty of the entire human
family to provide practical assistance to those in need.”

“Since the goods that
God the creator has
entrusted to us are meant for all, there is an urgent need for solidarity to be
the criterion inspiring all forms of cooperation in international
relations,” he said.

Highlighting the need for
countries and institutions to make good on their commitments, Pope Francis said
he would make a “symbolic contribution” to the FAO program that
provides seeds to families living in areas affected by conflicts and drought.

“This gesture is offered
in addition to the work that the church continues to carry out, in accordance
with her vocation to stand at the side of the earth’s poor and to accompany the
effective commitment of all on their behalf,” the pope said.

Pope Francis said that the
goal of ensuring food security “can no longer be put off” and that
only an effort “inspired by authentic solidarity will be capable of
eliminating the great number of persons who are undernourished and deprived of
the necessities of life.”

“This is a very great
challenge for FAO and for all the institutions of the international community.
It is also a challenge that the church is committed to on the front
lines,” he said.

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