ROME – Pope Francis lashed out Thursday at what he said were “market priorities” and the “primacy of profit” hindering the struggle against hunger and malnutrition among the world’s poor.
Speaking at an international conference on nutrition held by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation at a cost of $3.8 million, the Supreme Pontiff told delegates that “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 mulnutrition 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,” Francis added.
“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.”
Francis, who at the end of this month will make an official trip to Turkey, said that “the Catholic Church tries to offer its own contribution in this field, by means of constant attention to the life of the poor in every part of the planet.”
“The Holy See moves along the same lines by active involvement in international organisations and through numerous documents and declarations”.
“In this way it is intended to contribute to identify and adopt criteria that are necessary for the development of a fair international system,” the Pope said.
“These are criteria that on the moral level are based on pillars such as truth, freedom, justice and solidarity.”
Speaking off the cuff, Francis added that “water is not free, as we so often think – this will be a grave problem that could lead us to a war.”
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