December 20, 2014

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ITALY: Feed the Hungry to Save the Planet, Pope tells UN

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ROME, November 21 2014(CISA)-Pope Francis on Thursday November 20 condemned the excessive consumption and misuse of food, saying that often the statistics surrounding the topic of hunger are twisted for the sake of national security.

“There are few subjects about which we find as many fallacies as those related to hunger; few topics as likely to be manipulated by data, statistics, the demands of national security, corruption, or futile lamentation about the economic crisis,” the CNA quoted Pope Francis as saying November 20.

It is “painful,” he said, to see that the struggle against hunger and malnutrition “is hindered by ‘market priorities,’ the ‘primacy of profit,’ which have reduced foodstuffs to a commodity like any other, subject to speculation, also of a financial nature.”

Pope Francis offered his comments during a speech given to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at their headquarters in Rome. The organization had their Second International Conference on Nutrition, which began on November 19 and closed November 21.

The pontiff condemned what St Pope John Paul II also spoke of at the First Conference on Nutrition in 1992, when he warned the international community against the risk of the “paradox of plenty.”

This paradox in which there is enough food for everyone – and yet not everyone can eat – still exists, the Pope observed, saying that “waste, excessive consumption and the use of food for other purposes is visible before our very eyes.”

However, the Pope also underscored the importance of taking the discussion on hunger to a human level, in which conversation goes beyond rights and duties, and looks at those who are hungry themselves.

“While we speak of new rights, the hungry remain at the street corner, and ask to be recognized as citizens, to receive a healthy diet. We ask for dignity, not for charity,” the Roman Pontiff voiced, saying that helpful theories can’t remain “in limbo,” but must be put into practice.

Only when development plans and the work of international organizations respect the fundamental human rights, including the “rights of the hungry,” will relief efforts and humanitarian intervention gain momentum and yield greater results, he explained.

 

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