Pope says Third World farmers need help to beat poverty

Pope Benedict yesterday told a group of representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) that dialogue and respect between cultures must be part of the international effort to curb hunger and poverty.

CLICK HERECatholic News Agency reports that the Holy Father said that the FAO meeting to which he was speaking "allows me to see at close hand your efforts in the service of a great ideal: that of liberating humanity from hunger."

"Today more than ever," he stressed, "there is a need for concrete, effective instruments for eliminating the potential for conflict between different cultural, ethnic and religious visions. There is a need to base international relations on respect for the person and on the cardinal principles of peaceful coexistence and fidelity to commitments undertaken."

The Pope also added however, the need to "recognise that technical progress ... is not everything. True progress ... enables each people to share its own spiritual and material resources for the benefit of all."

"Here", he said, "I wish to mention the importance of helping native communities, all too often subjected to undue appropriations aimed at profit, as your organisation recently pointed out in its 'Guidelines on the Right to Food.'"

Benedict also asked listeners to recall that, "while some areas are subject to international measures and controls, millions of people are condemned to hunger, even outright starvation, in areas where violent conflicts are taking place, conflicts which public opinion tends to neglect because they are considered internal, ethnic or tribal."

He did however, identify one "encouraging sign" in the "initiative of the FAO to convene its member States to discuss the issue of agrarian reform and rural development."

"This is not a new area," he pointed out, "but one in which the Church has always shown interest, out of particular concern for small rural farmers who represent a significant part of the active population especially in developing countries."

Education, cultural dialogue, support for rural farmers needed to combat poverty, hunger, says Pope (Catholic News Agency 24/11/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)

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25 Nov 2005