VATICAN CITY (CNS): Feeding the hungry is not simply a logistical and economic challenge, it is a moral obligation, Pope Benedict XVI said recently.
In a message for the October 16 celebration of World Food Day, sponsored by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, the Pope said that perhaps the failure to significantly reduce the rate of malnutrition in the world is due to the fact that too many people consider it a “technical and economic” problem.
Individuals and nations, he said, must give priority to “the ethical dimension of feeding the hungry.”
“This priority relates to the feeling of compassion and solidarity that is part of being human, leading to sharing with others not only material goods, but also (sharing) the love all of us need,” he added.
“Indeed, we give too little if we offer only material goods,” Pope Benedict said in the message sent to Food and Agriculture Organisation director-general Jacques Diouf.
The Pope said studies of the situation of the world’s 850 million hungry people demonstrate that a lack of food is not due only to natural factors such as drought, but is due “above all, to situations caused by human behaviour”, including wars that force people to flee their land and their homes.
Pope Benedict called for scientists, researchers and technology developers to work in conjunction with farmers, farm workers and the indigenous who know the “cycles and rhythms of nature” and have protected them for centuries.
The Pope also called for strengthening school meal programs for the poor throughout the world.