The Vatican

Pope calls for fair distribution of foodstuffs

The Holy See Press Office has released Pope Francis' message for World Food Day 2023. On this occasion, the Holy Father wants to emphasize the importance of water, a resource of "irreplaceable value".

Paloma López Campos-October 16, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes
Pope Francis

Pope Francis greets in St. Peter's Square during the General Audience on October 11, 2023 (CNS photo / Lola Gomez)

Pope Francis has made public, through the press office of the Holy See, his message for World Food Day, to be celebrated on October 16, 2023. This year's theme is "Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind". In his message, the Holy Father wants to recall that inaccessibility to basic resources such as water and food "for many people represents an affront to their intrinsic, God-given dignity. It is, without doubt, an insult that should make all humanity blush and mobilize the international community".

Given the importance of water for life, the Pope warns of the injustice caused by the lack of water, both for the climate change as well as the poor distribution of the resource. He therefore calls for "investing more in infrastructure, in sewerage networks, in sanitation and wastewater treatment systems, especially in the most remote and depressed rural areas. It is also important to develop educational and cultural models that raise society's awareness so that this primary good is respected and preserved. Water should never be considered as a mere commodity, a product to be exchanged or an article for speculation.

A society that thinks of everyone

Aware that the greatest impact on resources is made by large public and private entities, Francisco addressed them directly. "International organizations, governments, civil society, business, academic and research institutions, as well as other entities must join forces and pool their ideas so that water is everyone's heritage, is better distributed and is managed in a sustainable and rational way."

At the end of his message, the Pope takes the opportunity to point out that "the celebration of World Food Day should serve as a reminder that the throwaway culture must be incisively countered by actions based on responsible and loyal cooperation on the part of all". In our globalized world we must "think and act in terms of community, of solidarity, trying to give priority to the life of all over the appropriation of goods by some".

The Pope and international conflicts

The Holy Father also alludes to the current panorama. "We are witnessing a scandalous polarization of international relations due to the existing crises and confrontations. Enormous financial resources and innovative technologies that could be used to make water a source of life and progress for all are being diverted to the production and trade of arms". Consequently, Francis invites us in his message to "become promoters of dialogue and peacemakers".

For her part, "the Church never tires of sowing those values that will build a civilization that finds in love, mutual respect and reciprocal help a compass to guide its steps, turning above all to those brothers and sisters who suffer most".

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