Pope Pleads for the 800 Million Who Go Hungry

World Economy, as Well as Lifestyles, Must Change, He Says

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 12, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI spoke up for the more than 800 million people who suffer hunger, stressing the responsibility of every one to eradicate this global scourge.



Thousand of people defied rain to gather today in St. Peter's Square to hear the Pope at his traditional Angelus address. On the annual Day of Thanksgiving in Italy, he reflected on the theme of the occasion: "The Earth: a Gift for the Whole Human Family."

Benedict XVI alluded to a "very painful point: the tragedy of hunger," which though addressed recently "in the highest institutional quarters, such as the United Nations and in particular the FAO [U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization], continues to be very grave always."

"More than 800 million people live in a situation of malnutrition," he said from the window of his study. "Too many people, especially children, die of hunger."

This is a reality that "the Church knows very well through the direct experience of communities and missionaries" and which has been confirmed in the last FAO annual report, the Pope observed.

To address this tragedy, Benedict XVI stressed the need "to eliminate the structural causes linked to the system of government of the world economy, which allocates the greater part of the planet's resources to a minority of the population."

He said that this phenomenon has already been labeled an "injustice" by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II.

Conversion

According Benedict XVI, to "be able to influence on a large scale it is necessary 'to convert' the model of global development; this is required now not only by the scandal of hunger, but also by the environmental and energy emergencies."

The Holy Father also pointed out the responsibility of each person and each family, who "can and must do something to alleviate hunger in the world."

To do so, he suggested that they adopt "a style of life and consumption compatible with the safeguarding of creation and with criteria of justice toward those who cultivate the land in every country."

The Pope further urged a concrete commitment "to eradicate the scourge of hunger" and "to promote justice and solidarity in all parts of the globe."

"Jesus taught his disciples to pray, asking the heavenly Father not for 'my' but for 'our' daily bread," he noted. "Thus he wanted every man to feel co-responsible for his brothers, so that no one would be without what is necessary to live."