Fight poverty, hunger, disease – not each other

People’s real battles should be spent on fighting poverty, hunger, disease, thirst and slavery, Pope Francis says.

They should be spending money on those battles, not on fighting each other, nation against nation. Yet vast sums are spent on armaments for waging war.

This is “a scandal” that just drags civilisation backward, Francis told a group of Italian volunteers from an organisation called “I Was Thirsty.”

Founded in 2012, the group sets up projects that provide clean drinking water to communities in need around the world.

“What is the point of all of us solemnly committing ourselves together at international level to campaigns against poverty, against hunger, against the degradation of the planet, if we then fall back into the old vice of war, into the old strategy of the power of armaments, which takes everything and everyone backward?”

As all life on Earth depends on water, “why should we wage war on each other over conflicts that we should resolve by talking to each other?

“Why not, instead, join forces and resources to fight the real battles of civilisation together: the fight against hunger and thirst; the fight against disease and epidemics; the fight against poverty and modern-day slavery?”

Not all choices are “neutral,” he told the group.

Choosing to allocate a large percentage of a national budget on arms, which means taking resources away from those who lack basic necessities, is not a “neutral” choice.

There’s another aspect to choosing to spend money on weapons. Doing so “dirties the soul, dirties the heart, dirties humanity,” he explained.

In a separate message written on the pope’s behalf, the Vatican Secretary of State told those taking part in the World Water Forum in Senegal this week that managing the world’s water resources sustainably and cooperatively across national boundaries helps contribute to peace.

His words supported the forum’s aims, which focus on water security’s role in building peace and development.

“Water is a valuable asset for peace. As a result, it cannot be considered simply as a private good, generating commercial profit and subject to the laws of the market,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin wrote.

The right to drinking water and sanitation is closely linked to the right to life and “water is a gift to us from God” meant for all people and generations.

Parolin said Francis hopes the forum will be an opportunity for people to work together to guarantee the right to drinking water and sanitation for every person.

This would lead to water becoming“a true symbol of sharing, of constructive and responsible dialogue” that promotes peace and is built on trust.


Additional reading

News category: Palmerston, World.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,