VATICAN CITY (CNS): Hunger and poverty violate human dignity and threaten the peace and security of the whole world, Pope John Paul II told government leaders meeting in Rome.
A lack of resources, natural disasters and bad organisation cannot take all the blame for hunger and malnutrition in the world, the Pope said in a message to the opening session of the June 10-13 summit sponsored by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The fact that some 815 million of the world’s people are hungry also is ‘the consequence of a more complex situation of underdevelopment resulting from human inertia and self-centeredness’, he said.
The Rome summit was a follow-up to a similar meeting in 1996 in which world leaders pledged to reduce by half the number of the world’s hungry by the year 2015.
While Pope John Paul opened the 1996 summit at the FAO’s headquarters in Rome, his message to the 2002 meeting said, ‘I am unable to be among you personally on this solemn occasion’.