Starvation is ‘scandalous’, Pope tells UN agency

The fact that millions of people face the danger of starvation in today’s world is “truly scandalous”, Pope Francis has told participants in a conference organised by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

“A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth … to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness, and respect for every human being,” he said.

The Pope urged FAO members to push for substantial changes, “inspired by something more than mere good will or — worse — promises which all too often have not been kept”.

He said food shortages are aggravated not only by the current worldwide economic downturn, but also by the number of military conflicts in needy nations.

He also said the FAO should be mindful of climate change and of biological diversity as it makes plans for addressing the problem of secure food supplies.

The Pope noted that there are many possible initiatives and solutions and that they don’t only have to do with increasing production seeing that current levels of production are sufficient,

Pope Francis decried the reliance on “vague abstractions in the face of issues like the use of force, war, malnutrition, marginalisation, the violation of basic liberties, and financial speculation”.

Food, he said, cannot be treated as just one more sort of merchandise. Political leaders must recognise the urgent moral necessity for ensuring adequate food supplies for everyone.

Pope Francis said that the shortages occurring in the world today are “a consequence of a crisis of convictions and values, including those which are the basis of international life”.

He asked the FAO, its member states and the entire international community to open their hearts.

“There is a need to move beyond indifference and a tendency to look the other way, and urgently to attend to immediate needs … leaving behind the temptations of power, wealth, or self-interest and instead serving the human family, especially the needy and those suffering from hunger and malnutrition,” he said.


Vatican Information Service

Vatican Radio

Image: USA Today

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