Pope Francis sent a message to the Food andAgricultural Organisation Director General, Qu Dongyu, for World Food Day, expressing his concern for the “distorted relationship between food and nutrition”.
Pope Francis begins his message by referring to the theme for this year’s World Food Day: “Our Actions Are Our Future. Healthy Diets for a #ZeroHunger World”. The Pope notes that “despite efforts made in recent decades, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is yet to be implemented in many parts of the world”.
Food wasted or consumed in excess
Pope Francis calls attention to the “distorted relationship between food and nutrition”. He cites the fact that while 820 million people suffer from hunger in the world, “almost 700 million are overweight”. He calls it a “cruel, unjust and paradoxical reality” that there is food for everyone and yet not everyone has access to it. The Pope laments the fact that “food is wasted, discarded and consumed in excess, or destined for other purposes than nutrition”.
Poor nutrition gives rise to pathologies caused by “excess”, says the Pope, giving the examples of “diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other forms of degenerative diseases”, but also by “deficiency”, as documented by “an increasing number of deaths from anorexia and bulimia”.
A simple and sober lifestyle
This reality calls for a conversion in our way of living and acting, adds the Pope. “Nutritional disorders can only be combatted by the cultivation of lifestyles inspired by gratitude for the gifts we have received and the adoption of a spirit of temperance, moderation, abstinence, self-control and solidarity”.
By adopting a more “simple and sober lifestyle”, continues Pope Francis, we “grow in a fraternal solidarity that seeks the common good and avoids the individualism and egocentrism that serve only to generate hunger and social inequality”.
Pope Francis goes on to stress the primary role played by the family. “Within the family, and thanks to the particular sensitivity and wisdom of women and mothers, we learn how to enjoy the fruits of the earth without abusing it”, he writes.
The bread of the poor
Pope Francis concludes his message for World Food Day by stating that “the battle against hunger and malnutrition will not end as long as the logic of the market prevails and profit is sought at any cost”. Our first concern should always be the human person, writes the Pope: “We must come to realize that what we are accumulating and wasting is the bread of the poor”.