THE POPE AT FAO: "CRUEL" TRAGEDY OF HUNGER, UNACCEPTABLE "OPULENCE AND WASTE"

"Hunger is the cruellest and most real sign of poverty. We cannot keep accepting opulence and waste when the tragedy of hunger is escalating out of proportion". This was said today by Benedict XVI as he spoke today at the opening ceremony of the World FAO Summit in Rome. The Pope spoke of the "dramatic growth in the number of people starving" across the world, in the attempt to find the causes and the possible solutions. He suggested that investments should be made in the poor countries "in rural infrastructure, irrigation systems, transport, market organisation, training and spreading of appropriate farming techniques", not least by fighting "the use of some forms of subsidies that seriously distort agriculture, the continuation of consumption-oriented dietary models that have no wider perspective and above all the selfishness that lets speculation enter even the cereal market, so that food is equated to any other commodity". The Pope invited the international community to combine "cooperation" with "subsidiarity", involving "the local communities in choices and decisions on the use of tillable land" and the required "solidarity in assisting, helping, training and respecting" the poor countries. (continued)

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