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Pope backs Caritas campaign to end world hunger

13 December 2013


Papal mic: Pope Francis delivers his message during his general audience in St Peter's Square on Wednesday

Papal mic: Pope Francis delivers his message during his general audience in St Peter's Square on Wednesday

POPE FRANCIS has backed an ambitious worldwide campaign, launched this week by the Catholic aid charity Caritas Internationalis, which seeks to end world hunger by 2025.

In a video message released on Monday, Pope Francis spoke of "a global scandal" of one billion people suffering from hunger today. "We cannot look the other way and pretend this does not exist," he said. "The food available in the world is enough to feed everyone. The parable of the multiplication of the loaves and fish teaches us exactly this: that if there is the will, what we have never ends. On the contrary, it abounds, and does not get wasted."

He said that the work of Caritas, which operates in 200 countries, "is at the heart of the mission of the Church and of her attention towards all those who suffer because of the scandal of hunger - those with whom the Lord identified when he said 'I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.'

"I invite all of the institutions of the world, the Church - each of us, as one single human family, to give a voice to all of those who suffer silently from hunger; so that this voice becomes a roar which can shake the world."

He urged people to examine their own food choices, which often led to waste and a poor use of resources. "It is a reminder to stop thinking that our daily actions do not have an impact on the lives of those who suffer from hunger first hand."

The campaign, "One Human Family, Food for All", will unite the efforts of the Caritas confederation's 164 Catholic organisations worldwide.

It was launched on Tuesday with a "wave of prayer" around the world, starting on the Pacific island of Samoa. Caritas organisations at midday in their country held a service to reflect on the issue of hunger.

Caritas believes that governments' guaranteeing the right to food in their national laws is an essential step to guaranteeing food for all; so it will lobby governments and the UN. Individual Caritas organisations will adopt national goals aimed at improving food security.

In the UK, the social-action arm of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Caritas Social Action Network, called on Roman Catholics to support charities that were working to alleviate hunger. A number of its groups are already running Christmas projects to tackle food poverty.

The network's chief executive, Helen O'Brien, said: "At Christmas, the hardships in our society, where 3.5 million children live in poverty, and almost 350,000 people are resorting to foodbanks, is thrown into sharp relief.

"Christmas is traditionally a time of excess, when most of us tuck into leftover turkey sandwiches for days after Christmas; but for many families this year the prospect of a meal with any meat is little more than a dream."

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