Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Food & Catholic Social Teaching

It is often difficult, when caught up in the news whirling about us that promotes the perception that we are more a member of a particular country, ethnic group, religious persuasion, or political party, than a human being; which is exactly a prime part of the role of the Holy Father, to remind us that we are humans on this world together.

In these remarks about the food needed to feed all humans on this planet, he reminds us of eternal truths.

An excerpt.

“VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2009 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI visited the Rome headquarters of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for the occasion of the World Summit on Food Security, being held there from 16 to 18 November.

“Given below are some excerpts from the Holy Father's address to the gathering:

"The international community is currently facing a grave economic and financial crisis. Statistics bear witness to the dramatic growth in the number of people suffering from hunger, made worse by the rise in price of foodstuffs, the reduction in economic resources available to the poorest peoples, and their limited access to markets and to food - notwithstanding the known fact that the world has enough food for all its inhabitants.

"Indeed, while low levels of agricultural production persist in some regions, partly owing to climate change, sufficient food is produced on a global scale to satisfy both current demands and those in the foreseeable future. From these data we may deduce that there is no cause-and-effect relationship between population growth and hunger, and this is further demonstrated by the lamentable destruction of foodstuffs for economic gain.

"In the Encyclical Letter 'Caritas in veritate' I pointed out that ... 'what is missing is a network of economic institutions capable of guaranteeing regular access to sufficient food and water . and also capable of addressing the primary needs and necessities ensuing from genuine food crises'".

"There is a "need to oppose those forms of aid that do grave damage to the agricultural sector, those approaches to food production that are geared solely towards consumption and lack a wider perspective, and especially greed, which causes speculation to rear its head even in the marketing of cereals, as if food were to be treated just like any other commodity.

"The weakness of current mechanisms for food security and the need to re- examine them are confirmed, one might say, by the mere fact that this summit has been convoked".

"The concept of co-operation, though, must be consistent with the principle of subsidiarity. ... This is because integral human development requires responsible choices on the part of everyone and it demands an attitude of solidarity - meaning that aid or disaster relief should not be seen as opportunities to promote the interests of those who make resources available or of elite groups among the beneficiaries".