Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pope Francis Urges Global Community to 'Denaturalize Poverty'

Let us be clear. Food shortage is not something natural, it is not a given, something obvious or self-evident. The fact that today, well into the twenty-first century, so many people suffer from this scourge is due to a selfish and wrong distribution of resources, to the "merchandizing” of food. The earth, abused and exploited, continues in many parts of the world to yield its fruits, offering us the best of itself. The faces of the starving remind us that we have foiled its purposes. We have turned a gift with a universal destination into a privilege enjoyed by a select few. We have made the fruits of the earth – a gift to humanity – commodities for a few, thus engendering exclusion. -Pope Francis
On June 13, Pope Francis addressed a meeting of the executive board of the World Food Program in Rome. The WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger. The pontiff thanked the organization for its efforts and commitments "in service of a cause that challenges us all: combatting the hunger from which so many of our brothers and sisters are suffering."
Pope Francis acknowledged that social media has made the globe more aware about hunger and poverty. And yet, he said, the problem prevails. "Today we cannot be satisfied simply with being aware of the problems faced by many of our brothers and sisters. It is not enough to offer broad reflections or engage in endless discussion, constantly repeating things everyone knows. We need to "de-naturalize” extreme poverty, to stop seeing it as a statistic rather than a reality. Why? Because poverty has a face! It has the face of a child; it has the face of a family; it has the face of people, young and old. It has the face of widespread unemployment and lack of opportunity. It has the face of forced migrations, and of empty or destroyed homes. We cannot "naturalize” the fact that so many people are starving."

Ironically, his appearance in Rome was mentioned widely on social media.  Here is a tweet from a group in the Philippines.

The pope encouraged the WFP to continue its efforts to achieve the goal of Zero Hunger. "I desire that the fight to eradicate the hunger and thirst of our brothers and sisters, and with our brothers and sisters, will continue to challenge us to seek creative solutions of change and transformation. May Almighty God sustain with his blessing the work of your hands," said the pontiff.

Read the complete speech

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