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Dignity Seen as Priority in Fighting Hunger

Aide Comments on Pope’s Message to Food Summit

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 8, 2008 ( The struggle against hunger will not be in vain if it is “centered on the dignity of the person,” said a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, commented this week on the message Benedict XVI sent to the U.N.-sponsored food summit that ended Thursday in Rome.

On the most recent edition of the weekly Vatican Television program “Octava Dies,” the spokesman cited a forceful statement made by the Pope, “Give him who is dying of hunger to eat, because if you do not give him to eat, you have killed him.”

According to Father Lombardi: “No one can hide the difficulty of articulating an effective medium- and long-term operational plan to conquer hunger in the world, or even to deal with short periods of emergency created by sudden rises in food prices.

“In a complex world like ours, the causes of problems are always multiple, and so are the answers.”

The Jesuit explained that the Church insists on the most fundamental principles — “the rights to life and food as being primary for every person; the duty of solidarity with persons and nations.”

He continued with another citation from the Pope’s message, “If respect for human dignity were made to count at the negotiating table, in decisions and in their implementation, we could overcome otherwise insuperable obstacles and we would eliminate the lack of interest in the welfare of others.”

“In sum,” concluded Father Lombardi, “in the face of the hunger of the poor we cannot consider ourselves justified by the fact of the difficulty of overcoming it. We must find the priorities and the right points of departure.”

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