20-11-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 205
|The Pope at the Conference on Nutrition at the FAO: “the hungry ask for dignity, not charity”|
Vatican City, 20 November 2014 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis visited the headquarters of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, on the occasion of the second International Conference on Nutrition, taking place in Rome from 19 to 21 November.
Upon arrival the Holy Father was received by the director general of the FAO, Jose Graziano da Silva, the adjunct director, Oleg Chestnov and Archbishop Luigi Travaglino, Holy See Permanent Observer at the FAO.
The full text of the Pontiff's address, delivered in the Plenary Hall, is published below:
“I am pleased and honoured to speak here today, at this Second International Conference on Nutrition. I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for your warm greeting and the words of welcome addressed to me. I cordially greet the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan, and the Director General of the FAO, Professor José Graziano da Silva, and I rejoice in their decision to convene this conference of representatives of States, international institutions, and organisations of civil society, the world of agriculture and the private sector, with the aim of studying together the forms of intervention necessary in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, as well as the changes that must be made to existing strategies. The overall unity of purpose and of action, and above all the spirit of brotherhood, can be decisive in finding appropriate solutions. The Church, as you know, seeks always to be attentive and watchful regarding the spiritual and material welfare of the people, especially those who are marginalised or excluded, to ensure their safety and dignity.
“The fates of nations are intertwined, more than ever before; they are like the members of one family who depend upon each other. However, we live in a time in which the relations between nations are too often damaged by mutual suspicion, that at times turns into forms of military and economic aggression, undermining friendship between brothers and rejecting or discarding what is already excluded. He who lacks his daily bread or a decent job is well aware of this. This is a picture of today’s world, in which it is necessary to recognise the limits of approaches based on the sovereignty of each State, intended as absolute, and national interest, frequently conditioned by small power groups. Your working agenda for developing new standards and greater commitments to feed the world shows this well. From this perspective, I hope that, in the formulation of these commitments, the States are inspired by the conviction that the right to food can only be ensured if we care about the actual subject, that is, the person who suffers the effects of hunger and malnutrition.
“Nowadays there is much talk of rights, frequently neglecting duties; perhaps we have paid too little heed to those who are hungry. It is also painful to see that the struggle against hunger and malnutrition is hindered by “market priorities”, the “primacy of profit”, which have reduced foodstuffs to a commodity like any other, subject to speculation, also of a financial nature. And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain, at the street corner, and ask to be recognised as citizens, to receive a healthy diet. We ask for dignity, not for charity.
“These criteria cannot remain in the limbo of theory. Persons and peoples ask for justice to be put into practice: not only in a legal sense, but also in terms of contribution and distribution. Therefore, development plans and the work of international organisations must take into consideration the wish, so frequent among ordinary people, for respect for fundamental human rights and, in this case, the rights of the hungry. When this is achieved, then humanitarian intervention, emergency relief and development operations – in their truest, fullest sense – will attain greater momentum and bring the desired results.
“Interest in the production, availability and accessibility of foodstuffs, climate change and agricultural trade should certainly inspire rules and technical measures, but the first concern must be the individual as a whole, who lacks daily nourishment and has given up thinking about life, family and social relationships, instead fighting for survival. St. John Paul II, in the inauguration in this hall of the First Conference on Nutrition in 1992, warned the international community against the risk of the “paradox of plenty”, in which there is food for everyone, but not everyone can eat, while waste, excessive consumption and the use of food for other purposes is visible before our very eyes. Unfortunately, this “paradox” remains relevant. There are few subjects about which we find as many fallacies as those related to hunger; few topics as likely to be manipulated by data, statistics, the demands of national security, corruption, or futile lamentation about the economic crisis. This is the first challenge to be overcome.
“The second challenge to be faced is the lack of solidarity; we suspect that subconsciously we would like to remove this word from the dictionary. Our societies are characterised by growing individualism and division: this ends up depriving the weakest of a decent life, and provokes revolts against institutions. When there is a lack of solidarity in a country, the effects are felt throughout the world. Indeed, solidarity is the attitude that makes people capable of reaching our to others and basing their mutual relations on this sense of brotherhood that overcomes differences and limits, and inspires us to seek the common good together.
“Human beings, as they become aware of being partly responsible for the plan of creation, become capable of mutual respect, instead of fighting between themselves, damaging and impoverishing the planet. States, too, understood as a community of persons and peoples, are required to act concertedly, to be willing to help each other through the principles and norms offered by international law. A source of inspiration is natural law, inscribed in the human heart, that speaks a language that everyone can understand: love, justice, peace, elements that are inseparable from each other. Like people, States and international institutions are called to welcome and nurture these values – love, justice, peace – and this must be done with a spirit of dialogue and mutual listening. In this way, the aim of feeding the human family becomes feasible.
“Every woman, man, child and elderly person everywhere should be able to count on these guarantees. It is the duty of every State that cares for the wellbeing of its citizens to subscribe to them unreservedly, and to take the necessary steps to ensure their implementation. This requires perseverance and support. The Catholic Church also offers her contribution in this field through constant attention to the life of the poor in all parts of the world; along the same lines, the Holy See is actively involved in international organisations and through numerous documents and statements. In this way, it contributes to identifying and assuming the criteria to be met in order to develop an equitable international system. These are criteria that, on the ethical plane, are based on the pillars of truth, freedom, justice and solidarity; at the same time, in the legal field, these same criteria include the relationship between rights and food, and the right to life and a dignified existence, the right to be protected by law, not always close to the reality of those who suffer from hunger, and the moral obligation to share the economic wealth of the world.
“If we believe in the principle of the unity of the human family, based on the common paternity of God the Creator, and in the fraternity of human beings, no form of political or economic pressure that exploits the availability of foodstuffs can be considered acceptable. Political and economic pressure: here I think of our sister and mother, Earth, our planet, and of whether we are free of political and economic pressure and able to care for her, to avoid her destruction. We have two conferences ahead of us, in Perù and France, which pose the challenge to us of caring for our planet. I remember a phrase that I heard from an elderly man many years ago: God always forgives … our misdemeanours, our abuse, God always forgives; men forgive at times; but the Earth never forgives. We must care for our sister the Earth, our Mother Earth, so that she does not respond with destruction. But, above all, no system of discrimination, de facto or de jure, linked to the capacity of access to the market of foodstuffs, must be taken as a model for international efforts that aim to eliminate hunger.
“By sharing these reflections with you, I ask that the Almighty, God rich in mercy, bless all those who, with different responsibilities, place themselves at the service of those who experience hunger and who assist them with concrete gestures of closeness. I also pray that the international community might hear the call of this Conference and consider it an expression of the common conscience of humanity: feed the hungry, save life on the planet. Thank you”.
|Intense work by the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops|
Vatican City, 20 November 2014 (VIS) – The Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops will meet on 18 and 19 November to reflect on the results of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, held during October, and to prepare for the 14 th General Ordinary Assembly on the theme “The vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world”, to be held from .
The Holy Father will chair the Council 18 and his presence will underline the importance he accords to the Synod as an expression of episcopal collegiality and to the family, the theme of the two Assemblies: the extraordinary Assembly held this year and the Ordinary one, in the preparatory stages.
Alongside the secretary general, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, and the under-secretary, Archbishop Fabio Fabene, the meeting was attended by Cardinals Christoph Schonborn, Wilfried F. Napier, Peter K.A. Turkson, George Pell, Donald W. Wuerl, and Luis A. Tagle, and by Archbishops Bruno Forte and Salvatore Fisichella. Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, also participated by invitation.
In his introduction to the work of the Synod, the secretary general emphasised the climate of freedom and sincerity and the spirit of fraternal communion that characterised the Assembly, in which everyone was encouraged to contribute. Also, the final document, the Relatio Synodi, faithfully reflects the multi-faceted results of the Synod and offers a good summary of the process that took place during the Assembly.
In the meeting, it was agreed that the current period between the two Assemblies, which is unprecedented in the history of the Synod as an institution, is of great importance. It is necessary to take the path followed so far as a starting point and to make the most of this special opportunity to deepen knowledge of the themes and to promote discussion at the level of the episcopal conferences, finding the means and the tools necessary to further involve various ecclesial bodies in the synodal reflection on the family. Various ideas on communication were also considered, which may be useful in view of the preparation for the upcoming Ordinary Assembly.
The majority of the work was devoted to the preparation of the Lineamenta for the next Ordinary Assembly. The guidelines will be made up, as previously indicated, of the Relatio Synodi, accompanied by a series of points to help in its reception and elaboration.
The Lineamenta are expected to be sent to the Episcopal Conferences at the beginning of December, so that the answers can be received in good time to allow them to be developed in the Instrumentum Laboris before the summer of 2015.
|The joy of the Gospel is a missionary joy|
Vatican City, 20 November 2014 (VIS) – The Third World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities began in Rome today. Organised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the meeting is a response to the appeal for missionary conversion launched by Pope Francis to all Christians in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium.
The congress – the third of this type following those held during the pontificates of St. John Paul II in 1998 and Benedict XVI in 2006 – will be attended by more than 300 members of lay associations from 40 countries, gathered to explore the theme “The joy of the Gospel: a missionary joy”.
The congress was inaugurated by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, who recalled the rich teaching of the last three pontiffs on what St. John Paul II defined as “the new season of associations of the faithful”. The cardinal emphasised that St. John Paul II closely followed and guided the rapid development of ecclesial movements and new communities, accompanying them with his clear and enlightening words … and indicated a new phase in the life of new charisms, which would necessarily have to follow their initial flourish – the phase of ecclesial maturity”.
For Pope Benedict XVI, he continued, “the multiple forms and the unity of charisms and ministries are inseparable in the life of the Church. The Holy Spirit desires the multiplicity of movements in the service of the single Body that is the Church”.
Pope Francis well knows the reality of ecclesial movements, insists that the new charisms “are not a closed patrimony, consigned to a specific group to guard it; they are rather gifts from the Spirit integrated into the ecclesial body, attracted towards the centre that is Christ, from where they are channeled into an evangelical impulse”.
|Other Pontifical Acts|
Vatican City, 20 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Peter Andrew Comensoli as bishop of Broken Bay (area 2,763, population 930,000, Catholics 395,000, priests 109, permanent deacons 6, religious 155), Australia. Bishop Comensoli is currently auxiliary of the archdiocese of Sydney, Australia.