Pope Appeals for International Cooperation to Fight Hunger

Message for World Food Day 2003

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 17, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Hunger and the tensions arising from it can only be overcome if the international community acts as a «family of nations,» John Paul II says.

The Pope expressed this conviction Thursday in a message to Jacques Diouf, director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, for World Food Day 2003.

Monsignor Renato Volante, permanent observer of the Holy See before FAO, read the papal text during the official ceremony held at the organization’s headquarters in Rome. The message stressed that hunger daily endangers the survival of numerous human beings, in addition to being a «cause of division» among people, communities and countries.

The theme chosen for this year’s Food Day is «World Alliance Against Hunger.» It confirms that «hunger and the tensions arising from it can only be overcome by rapid and effective interventions brought about by a common will and joint efforts,» the Pope said.

Therefore, John Paul II made a new appeal on behalf of this alliance «that must draw strength from a renewed understanding of multilateralism.» Its effectiveness, he said, is «founded on the idea of the international community as a ‘family of nations’ committed to pursuing the universal common good.»

«Bringing about this alliance requires the exercise of solidarity on the part of governments, international organizations, and the men and women of every continent; its foundation may be seen in the collective and shared responsibility for the common good and for the development of those who are poorest, so that every human being may become more human,» he stressed.

Of course, «natural events and environmental conditions do play a role in this tragedy,» the Pope added. «Nevertheless, we must acknowledge that the lack of management, the expansion of ideological and political systems far removed from the concept of solidarity, and the increase of wars and conflicts, in contradiction of the fundamental principles of international coexistence, create and aggravate socioeconomic injustices.»

John Paul II stated that the Church «wishes to play her role in this world Alliance Against Hunger» by committing herself to «promote solidarity and to make it an element that gives shape to and is characteristic of personal and social relationships.»

«The Church desires in this way to be faithful to the example and teaching of her Founder, convinced that one possible outcome of such an alliance is reconciliation with God and among human beings,» the Pope added.

«By reinforcing a conscious civilization of love that promotes authentic and fundamental values, the Church helps to keep selfishness and conflict from filling the void left by the absence of such values,» he noted.

«For this reason, I ask the Christian communities, believers, and all men and women of good will to live and work increasingly in the service of the poor and the hungry, so that true reconciliation among individuals and peoples may come about,» the Holy Father exhorted.

«Participating actively in the joint and concerted struggle against poverty and hunger means taking part in setting up well-planned and resolute programs of action on behalf of justice and peace,» he said.

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