Pope Francis on World Food Day: The scandal of hunger and the globalization of indifference towards it

2013-10-16 Vatican Radio

October 16th is World Food Day and in a message to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization Pope Francis condemned the continuing scandal of hunger and malnutrition in today’s world and what he called a globalization of indifference towards it.

Listen to the following report by Susy Hodges:

Pope Francis’s address was delivered by Monsignor Luigi Travaglino in a ceremony marking World Food Day at the Rome headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. In his message the Pope criticized what he called "a growing tendency for us to close in on ourselves saying this leads to a certain indifference on both a personal, institutional and state level" towards hunger as though "it were an inevitable fact."

The Pope urged the international community to break down "the barriers of individualism and the slavery of profit at all cost," not just in human relations but also in the global economic and financial dynamics. In order to conquer hunger, he said, "we need to re-educate ourselves in the value and meaning of solidarity, an uncomfortable word that is often put to one side."

As he has done in the past, Pope Francis criticized the fact that around a third of all food produced in our planet goes to waste and said "we need to modify our life styles including our eating habits." "This waste of food," he continued, "is one of the results of our throw-away culture that often leads to the sacrifice of men and women before the idols of profit and consumerism."

The pope said this was "the sad sign of a globalization of indifference that is slowly making us get used to the suffering of others as though it were a normal thing." He concluded his message by calling for an education in solidarity and a lifestyle that overcomes our throw-away culture and places human beings and their dignity in centre stage.