Holy See: Hunger an "Intolerable" Situation

Urges Europe to Take Global Problem Seriously

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, SEPT. 18, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The rising number of malnourished people in the world is "intolerable," and it's a situation that Europe needs to begin taking more seriously, says a Vatican representative to the Council of Europe.



Monsignor Aldo Giordano, the observer of the Holy See to the European institution based in Strasbourg, France, told Vatican Radio on Wednesday that the situation of hunger in the world is one of the global challenges that Europe must address.

The Vatican representative made this statement in response to a Wednesday report of the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization that higher food prices have resulted in rising numbers of people suffering from hunger.

Jacques Diouf, director-general of the Rome-based agency, revealed that the number of malnourished people rose from 850 million to 925 million in 2007.

"Europe must take seriously the problem of hunger in the world and be aware that this situation is intolerable," said Monsignor Giordano. "We are too accustomed to hearing these numbers without being scandalized."

He added that the fact that millions of people endure hunger is nothing short of "a scandal."

New fraternity

The representative of the Holy See continued, "Europe must be aware of its responsibilities vis-à-vis other continents: toward Latin America, with which it has very strong historic and cultural ties; toward Africa because of the special sufferings it is enduring; toward Asia, which is the real 'new continent' and will be the great challenge of the future."

Because of the effects of globalization, the "global village" is in fact coming into being, explained Monsignor Giordano. "The moment that everything is at stake in the same house, we realize there is a problem of resources, of energy, of the environment, of encounter with other cultures and religions.

"This calls for a decisive step forward: It is necessary to discover a new fraternity. Because we are closer, we must discover that we are brothers, or we risk a clash: a clash of cultures and a clash of civilizations."

According to the observer of the Holy See, only by assuming its responsibilities "will Europe be able to rediscover itself, its great culture, its great tradition, its identity."

The internal challenges that Europe must face, he added, are "the rediscovery of Christianity, Christian unity and collaboration with the other great religions."