Feeding the hungry is moral obligation, pope says for World Food Day
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Feeding the hungry is not simply a logistical and economic challenge, it is a moral obligation, Pope Benedict XVI said.
People line up for free porridge distributed by a Christian group outside a church in Manila, Philippines, Oct. 16. Feeding the hungry is not simply a logistical and economic challenge, it is a moral obligation, Pope Benedict XVI said in a message for t he Oct. 16 observation of World Food Day. (CNS photo/Cheryl Ravelo, Reuters) (Oct. 16, 2007)
Individuals and nations, he said, must give priority to "the ethical dimension of feeding the hungry. This priority relates to the feeling of compassion and solidarity that is part of being human, leading to sharing with others not only material goods, but also (sharing) the love all of us need."
"Indeed, we give too little if we offer only material goods," Pope Benedict said in the message sent to Jacques Diouf, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization.
The pope said studies of the situation of the world's 850 million hungry people demonstrate that a lack a food is not due only to natural factors such as drought, but is due "above all, to situations caused by human behavior," including wars that force people to flee their land and their homes.
"The goal of eradicating hunger and, at the same time, providing healthy and sufficient diets, requires specific methods and actions that would allow for an exploitation of resources in a way that respects the patrimony of creation," he said.
Pope Benedict called for scientists, researchers and technology developers to work in conjunction with farmers, farmworkers and the indigenous who know the "cycles and rhythms of nature" and have protected them for centuries.
The pope also called for strengthening school meal programs for the poor throughout the world.
Children are "the first victims" of the tragedy of hunger and often suffer delayed physical and mental development because of malnutrition, he said. Many are forced to work or even are forced to enlist in armed militias in exchange for food.
Pope Benedict said school feeding programs not only provide food along with education for students, but they provide hope for the future for those children's communities.
Copyright (c) 2007 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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