Benedict calls for radical change to protect people and planet

The fact that 800 million people in the world still do not have enough to eat is a "scandal", Pope Benedict said yesterday, calling for radical "structural" and lifestyle changes of the prevailing model of global development.

The International Herald Tribune reports that Pope Benedict in a Sunday address described hunger as a scandal that must be combated by changes in consumption and fairer distribution of resources.

Benedict called for efforts to "eliminate the structural causes tied to the system of governing the world's economy, which earmarks most of the planet's resources to a minority of the (Earth's) population."

"To make an impact on a large scale, it is necessary to convert the model of global development," the Pope said. "Not just the scandal of hunger demands it, but also the environmental and energy crises."

"In any case, every person and every family can and must do something to alleviate hunger in the world, adopting a style of life and consumption compatible with safeguarding creation and with criteria of justice toward whose who cultivate the land in every country," Benedict said.

In a report late last month, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said that 10 years after global leaders had pledged to halve the number of the world's hungry, almost no progress has been made, with some 854 million people worldwide still suffering from under-nourishment.

The Pope urged the faithful to join him in "committing ourselves concretely to defeat the scourge of hunger" and promote justice and solidarity.

Reuters adds that the Pope's comments echoed the opinions of his predecessor, John Paul II, who often spoke out against the negative sides of globalisation and several times called for a "new world order" which would give priority to the needs of the poor and hungry.

"To make a large impact, it is necessary to convert the model of global development - something which is not only required by the scandal of hunger, but also by environmental and energy emergencies," he told pilgrims in St Peter's Square.

"Jesus taught his disciples to pray and ask the heavenly Father, not for 'my', but for 'our' daily bread," the Pope said.

"Every person and every family must do something to alleviate hunger in the world, adopting a life style and consumption that are compatible with safeguarding creation and with criteria of fairness towards those who cultivate the land in every country," the Pope concluded.

Holy See warns UN on deterioration in refugee asylum

Meanwhile, the Holy See representative to the UN, Archbishop Celestino Migliore has warned that "a certain deterioration of the legal concept of asylum appears to be taking place as some states give preference to national legislation or bilateral agreements over international refugee law."

"Moreover, access to asylum has also become more difficult because of the phenomenon of mixed flows," Archbishop Migliore said.

"And some countries do not acknowledge or uphold internationally established rights in their domestic legislation, such as freedom of movement, the right to work, and the recognition of qualifications."

Archbishop Migliore added: "A lasting solution to the problem of refugees and internally displaced persons will affect not only them but, by extension, will also have an impact upon the whole human family. These norms for the protection of those in need should be applied at national, regional and international levels, as applicable.

"The rights and dignity of our suffering fellow human beings are at stake and, as such, they deserve no less than our highest consideration and our best efforts for their protection."

Benedict urges efforts to fight hunger, including lifestyle changes (International Herald Tribune, 12/11/06)
Pope says world economy must change to stop hunger (Alertnet, 12/11/06)

G20 nations urged to tackle poverty (The Age, 13/11/06)

Legal Concept of Asylum Is Slipping, Says Holy See (Zenit, 11/11/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Food and Agricultural Organisation
Holy See Mission to UN

Pope says bloodshed threatens human dignity (CathNews, 11/1/05)
Pope denounces 'imbalance' of wealth (CathNews, 27/9/04)

13 Nov 2006