On the occasion of World Food Day, Pope Francis sent a message to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) calling attention to the millions around the world who still suffer from hunger and malnutrition, calling it “one of the most serious challenges for humanity.”
“It is a scandal that there is still hunger and malnutrition in the world,” the Pope’s message stated. “It is not just a question of responding to immediate emergencies, but of addressing together, in all areas, a problem that challenges our personal and social conscience, to achieve a just and lasting solution.”
The Holy Father emphasized that no one should be forced to abandon their home or country due to lack of essential means of sustenance. Globalization, while enabling all to know the needs in the world, has instead allowed a tendency to be indifferent to the needs of others, especially those suffering from hunger and malnutrition.
“Hunger and malnutrition can never be considered a normal event to which one must become accustomed, as if it were part of the system,” the Pope wrote. “Something has to change in ourselves, in our mentality, in our societies.”
“What can we do? I think that an important step is to bring down, with determination, the barriers of individualism, of being shut-in on ourselves, of the slavery of profit at all cost; and this, not only in the dynamic of human relations, but also in the global economic and financial dynamic.”
The 76 year old pontiff emphasized the need to “educate ourselves in solidarity”, an attitude that should be taken into account for all political, economic and financial decisions. This solidarity, he continued, should not be “reduced to different forms of welfare, but which makes an effort to ensure that an ever greater number of persons are economically independent.”
“Many steps have been taken in different countries, but we are still far from a world where all can live with dignity,” he wrote.
The Sad Effects of a Globalization of Indifference
Regarding the theme of the FAO’s World Food Day, Pope Francis stated that the call for sustainable food and nutrition implies a serious question on the need to change lifestyles. This change, he noted, is necessary, particularly in areas of the world that are “marked by consumerism, waste and the squandering of food.
“The waste of food is but one of the fruits of the ‘throw away culture’ which often leads to sacrificing men and women to the idols of profit and consumption; a sad sign of the ‘globalization of indifference,’ which makes us ‘accustomed’ slowly to the suffering of others, as if it were something normal,” he said.
The challenges in fighting hunger and malnutrition is not just a question with a economic and scientific dimension, but above all have an ethical and anthropological dimension. In educating solidarity and building a better society, the Pope stated that the dignity of human beings returns to the center rather than the logic of profit.
Concluding his statement, Pope Francis expressed the Catholic Church’s commitment with the FAO in fighting hunger. “May today’s celebration not be a simple annual event but a real opportunity to urge us and institutions to act according to a culture of encounter and solidarity, to give adequate answers to the problem of hunger and malnutrition, as well as to other problems that affect the dignity of every human being,” the Holy Father wrote.