WIPE OUT THE TRAGIC SCANDAL OF HUNGER
Pope John Paul II
General Audience, November 13, 1996

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I have just returned from the World Food Summit which opened today at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) here in Rome. I had the honour of speaking there to the delegates and representatives of almost 200 countries. I thank the Lord for this opportunity and earnestly hope that the reflections over the next few days will lead to effective projects to solve the overwhelming tragedy of hunger throughout the world.

Tragic indeed is the current state in which more than 800 million people find themselves due to lack of food or to malnutrition. Every effort must be urgently made to wipe out the scandal of the coexistence of persons who lack the basic essentials with others who have a superabundance.

May God grant that through the contribution of national leaders, voluntary organizations and all people of good will, the commitment to solidarity with constant attention to the most needy will increase on every continent.

2. While I was speaking this morning, I was particularly conscious of the tragedy of Rwandan and Burundian refugees and those of the Zairian peoples of Kivu, victims of the inhuman logic of interethnic conflict. This drama is constantly on my mind. How can we remain indifferent to people who have now come to the end of their resources, when they could benefit from the large quantity of food and medicine stored not far away?

I renew my heartfelt appeal to the conscience and responsibility of all the parties concerned and of the entire international community, so that without delay they might come to the aid of those brothers and sisters. The offence to their life and dignity is an offence to God, whose image every human being bears in himself. No uncertainty, no pretext, no calculation can possibly justify further delay in humanitarian aid!

Let us pray that the suffering of so many innocent people and the blood shed by faithful servants of the Church and of the human cause may serve to defeat hatred and help bring a new age of mutual respect and fraternal acceptance in the beloved African continent. Let us pray too that the absolute, ineffaceable and life-giving law of brotherly love may be established and take root in the hearts of men.


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