Referring to the latest United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, which confirmed that that over 800 million people live in a state of undernourishment, and that, “too many people, especially children, die of hunger," the Holy father asked, “how can we face this situation which, though repeatedly denounced, shows no sign of improving, indeed, in some ways is getting worse?”
“In order to make a significant impression, it is necessary to 'convert' the global development model,” the Holy Father said.
“It is certainly necessary,” Pope Benedict continued, “to eliminate the structural causes linked to the system of managing the world economy, which restricts the majority of the planet's resources to a minority of the population. This injustice has been stigmatized on a number of occasions by my venerated predecessors, Servants of God Paul VI and John Paul II.”
“Individuals and families can and must do something to alleviate hunger in the world by adopting a style of life and consumption compatible with the safeguarding of creation," and showing "justice towards those who cultivate the land in all countries" of the world, the Pope said.
The Holy Father tied his comments to the Italian celebration of Thanksgiving, which also took place Sunday. The theme of this year’s Day of Thanksgiving was, "The earth, a gift for the entire human family."
In Christian families, the Pope said, "children are taught always to thank the Lord before eating, with a brief prayer and the sign of the cross. This custom must be conserved and rediscovered, because it educates people not to take their 'daily bread' for granted but to recognize it as a gift of Providence.”
"We should become accustomed to blessing the Creator for all things," the Pope added. "Jesus taught His disciples to pray by asking the heavenly Father not for 'my' but for 'our' daily bread. In this way, He wished every man and woman to feel a shared responsibility for their fellows, that no one may lack the necessities of life. The products of the earth are a gift intended by God 'for the entire human family.'”
Thanksgiving, Pope Benedict said, "invites us, on the one hand, to give thanks to God for the fruits of agricultural labor. On the other, it encourages us to make a real commitment to defeating the scourge of hunger."
Prior to reciting the Angelus on Sunday with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI said that to eliminate the “scandal” of hunger, a new model of global development must be adapted and that everyone must do their part in safeguarding creation.