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Pope calls for real reform—not vague promises—to fight hunger

Catholic World News - June 20, 2013

The fact that millions of people face the danger of starvation in today’s world is “truly scandalous,” Pope Francis told participants in a conference organized by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on June 20.

At an audience in the Clementine Hall of the apostolic palace, the Pope told the FAO group that food shortages are aggravated not only by the current worldwide economic downturn, but also by the number of military conflicts in needy nations. He added that 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 Pontiff 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 decried the reliance of “vague abstractions in the face of issues like the use of force, war, malnutrition, marginalization, the violation of basic liberties, and financial speculation.” Food cannot be treated as just one more sort of merchandise, he said; political leaders must recognize 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 encouraged FAO members to address the need for a new international outlook on the question of food.

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