.- On Monday Pope Benedict XVI addressed a gathering at the World Summit on Food Security in Rome, calling hunger âthe most cruel and concrete sign of povertyâ and stating that âthe Catholic Church will always be concerned for efforts to defeat hunger.â
Speaking at the United Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, the Pope addressed food production and the current state of the global economy.
âThe international community is currently facing a grave economic and financial crisis. Statistics bear witness to the dramatic growth in the number of people suffering from hunger,â said the Pontiff. This situation is âmade worse by the rise in price of foodstuffs, the reduction in economic resources available to the poorest peoples, and their limited access to markets and to food,â he lamented.
However, despite the grave statistics and the fretting of population control advocates, the Holy Father made reference to âthe known fact that the world has enough food for all its inhabitants.â
âIndeed,â continued the Pope, âsufficient food is produced on a global scale to satisfy both current demands and those in the foreseeable future. From these data we may deduce that there is no cause-and-effect relationship between population growth and hunger, and this is further demonstrated by the lamentable destruction of foodstuffs for economic gain.â
Pope Benedict also condemned âopulenceâ and âwaste,â saying they are âno longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greater proportions.â
Giving his answer to the current debacle, Pope Benedict turned to his recent encyclical, âCaritas in Veritate,â stating, âwhat is missing is a network of economic institutions capable of guaranteeing regular access to sufficient food and water.â
The Pope highlighted the need for impoverished countries to be given economic initiatives through international trade. âOnce they have greater income at their disposal, these countries will be able to advance toward the self-sufficiency that leads to food security,â he said.
In concluding remarks, Pope Benedict said that âthe Catholic Church will always be concerned for efforts to defeat hunger,â and that âthe Church is committed to support, by word and deed, the action taken in solidarity - planned, responsible and regulated - to which all members of the international community are called to contribute.â
âThe Church does not wish to interfere in political decisions: she respects the knowledge gained through scientific study, and decisions arrived at through reason responsibly enlightened by authentically human values, and she supports the effort to eliminate hunger,â the Holy Father said.