Martedì, 23 Ottobre 2018

Pope decries 'scandal' of hunger amid plenty


(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, June 20 - Pope Francis on Thursday said it
was scandalous that around 870 million people suffer hunger when
the world produces more than enough food to feed everyone.
The Argentine pontiff also chided the international
community for failing to live up to its promises in the battle
against undernourishment.
"It is a well-known fact that current levels of production
are sufficient, yet millions of people are still suffering and
dying of starvation," Francis told a delegation of officials
taking part in the 38th Conference of the Rome-based United
Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
"This is truly scandalous. A way has to be found to enable
everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply
to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be
satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all
to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for
every human being".
Francis added that "something more can and must be done in
order to provide a new stimulus to international activity on
behalf of the poor", bemoaning "promises which all too often
have not been kept".
He also blamed traders in food commodities for exacerbating
the hunger situation with "financial speculation, which
presently affects the price of food, treating it like any other
merchandise and overlooking its primary function".
Francis has repeatedly highlighted the need to combat
poverty and hunger since being elected head of the world's 1.2
billion Catholics in March.
He sees these problems as a result of the misplaced values
of a modern world too preoccupied with money, empty consumerism
and power and not sufficiently devoted to solidarity.
For example, he recently complained on his Twitter account,
@Pontifex, that "consumerism has accustomed us to waste" and
said throwing food away was like "stealing it from the poor and
Francis has become enormously popular since his election,
in part because of his warm, off-the-cuff, unconventional style
and also because he practices what he preaches.
This is seen by things like him deciding not to live in the
papal apartments, but instead staying at Saint Martha's House,
the hotel for Vatican visitors where he had stayed during the
conclave, in one of a series of breaks he has made with Church
His new approach has put on a backburner the controversies
about many cases of child sex abuse carried out by Catholic
priests around the world, which overshadowed the run-up to the
conclave that elected him in March.
According to a poll by the Demopolis Institute released on
Thursday, the pope has an 85% approval rating among Italians.
The rating is even higher, 96%, among Italians who consider
themselves practising Catholics.

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