Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cardinal Turkson on Caritas Global Campaign Against Hunger

Hunger is too real in this world. We either experience it or know about it. We do not lack information and reminders about millions of impoverished human beings who lack nourishment for body, mind and spirit.

In fact, we are inundated by information about malnutrition, hunger and starvation through reports, figures and statistics by U.N. agencies like Rome’s own Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO); by national Governments, NGOs, academic and research units; and by media images of hungry men, women and children.

The ending of hunger is the first Millennium Development Goal: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, to reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. 

The U.N. has made the goal even more comprehensive under the “zero hunger challenge”. 

Agro-industry promises to increase production by using biotechnology, while other approaches promote improved traditional methods and family farming.

Now Caritas Internationalis convokes everyone to make a modest but crucial contribution to overcoming hunger. The campaign highlights a change in lifestyle through the collective force of our moral and spiritual energies. Everyone is invited to pray. Everyone is encouraged to support local initiatives which include cutting waste, maximizing land use for food production, support for women in agriculture, and application of the fruits of scientific research in farming and food production.

Our campaign is for food, nutrition and food-security, not a campaign against the hungry! Let us overcome hunger, not eliminate the hungry!

“One human Family, Food for all” is the appealing title and slogan of the Caritas campaign launched today. But simply converting the first part of the phrase into a pre-condition, a prior step, lets the title point prophetically towards the  global goal of the campaign and an effective remedy for world hunger.

Let us read the slogan as follows: when we live as one family, there is food for all. Such a formulation immediately makes global hunger into a human issue: hunger comes from a lack of solidarity, hunger comes from failing to feel, relate and behave as brothers and sisters. And like every great human issue, it is also a moral or ethical issue. It involves the exercise of human freedom. We are free to show dis-interest and indifference. We are free to exercise good will. The choice is no one’s but our own.

Very soon, Pope Francis will shed yet more light on the global campaign against hunger, because the central theme of his message for the World Day of Peace on the 1st of January is Fraternity as the foundation of peace and the pathway to peace. 

As applied to this campaign, we can say that fraternity is the key to solving world hunger and providing food for all.

Cardinal Peter Turkson
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

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