Church ever united against hunger, Pope tells FAO chief

.- International cooperation is needed in the fight to achieve "authentic human development" and eliminate hunger in the world, Pope Benedict XVI said in his annual message for World Food Day. He assured that the Church is always ready and "constantly at work" to do so.

In a letter to the director general of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the Pope brought attention back to the "one of the most urgent goals for the human family: freedom from hunger."

Pope Benedict called for concrete initiatives "informed by charity, and inspired by truth" to ensure that food is available to all people and accessible to them on a daily basis.

Commenting on this year's theme, "United against hunger," the Pope said that to be truly "united" in the fight against it, poverty must also be overcome with a strategy focused on "authentic human development, based on the idea of the person as a unity of body, soul and spirit."

Noting the tendency today to concentrate on supplying the material needs of the person, he said that "authentic development" is not just a question of what one "has" but "must also embrace higher values of fraternity, solidarity and the common good."

Pope Benedict emphasized that in an expression of "genuine fraternity," international collaborators must work together to overcome "obstacles of self-interest" and eliminate hunger and malnutrition.

Pledging the Church's commitment "for the defeat of hunger," he concluded by assuring that "she is constantly at work ... to alleviate the poverty and deprivation afflicting large parts of the world's population, and she is fully conscious that her own engagement in this field forms part of a common international effort to promote unity and peace among the community of peoples."

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