3-June-2008 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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Just Policies Can End World Hunger, Pope Tells U.N.

Rome, Jun. 03 (CWNews.com) - In a message to a UN conference on food, Pope Benedict XVI said that "hunger and malnutrition are unacceptable" in today's world.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, delivered the Pope's address to a conference organized by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is being held this week. Fifty heads of state and other government leaders are attending the meeting in Rome.

"The great challenge of today is to globalize not just economic and commercial interests, but also the call for solidarity," the Pope said in his message to the FAO meeting. He acknowledged the role for agricultural advances in increasing the food supply, but argued that technical solutions "are not enough to meet shortfalls in food." The most pressing problem, he said, is not increasing production, but "effective distribution of that production." The Holy Father said that every human being has a right to life, and that right implies the accompanying right to the things necessary to sustain life. Thus the "primary right to food is intrinsically linked to the safeguarding and defense of human life," he concluded.

However, the Pope continued, that right is being denied to millions of people who lack basic nutrition. And while most of the world agrees that food should be made available to the needy, the necessary policies have not been put into effect. The Pontiff lamented that "the obvious paradox of a multilateral consensus that continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few."

Pope Benedict argued, in short, that human decisions are responsible for the scandal of hunger. Just policies could ensure the basic nutrition for all of the world's people, he said, and "purely technical and economic considerations must not prevail over the duties of justice towards people suffering from hunger."

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