Marking World Food Day 2022 on 16 October 2022, His Holiness Pope Francis sent a message to Director of UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) QU Dongyu stating that the hunger prevailing in numerous countries of the world needs to be eradicated.
Reflecting on the theme of World Food Day “Leave no one behind”, the Pope stresses that people are not numbers. The Pope’s message is timely whereby the world is chronically facing the apparition of starvation in various parts of the world. Actually food insufficiency has been felt over the years in several countries with some of them suffering from chronic instability and persistent violence. Yet, with the eruption of the Ukraine-Russian conflict the state of food insufficiency has reached grave levels due to the fact that both Ukraine and Russian contribute significantly to food production that has over the years been alleviating food insufficiency prevailing in several world countries.
Stressing that “unfortunately, we are also living in a context of war, which we could call a ‘third world war’,” the Pope added that “this requires, first of all, that we see others as our brothers and sisters, as members who make up our own human family, and whose sufferings and needs affect us all.” This view conforms to the encyclical Fratelli Tutti which calls for building a better, more just and peaceful world with the contribution of all for the benefit of humanity at large.
With reference to the Biblical verse (1 Corinthians 12: 26) “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it,” the Pope calls for attaining just and lasting solutions, stressing that projects and interventions must not simply be a response to circumstantial shortcomings or appeals made in emergency contexts, but must aim for just and lasting solutions.
The prevailing global food insufficiency will ultimately lead to spiraling violence, political and social instability, in addition to chronic diseases resulting from a lack of foods that are needed to maintain good health. In other words, if no immediate solutions are reached to this chronic issue, we expect to shortly experience social and economic conflagrations. What adds insult to injury, with the prospects of hunger that seems to be rising in several countries, are the drastic consequences of climate change which include higher temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and more frequent extreme weather events such as droughts and flash floods which are making the food situation ever more precarious.
What is important at present is to overwhelm world leaders with humanity and solidarity by pursuing the common good and by searching for solutions aimed at looking after the affairs of their peoples with particular reference to the need to eliminate food insufficiency which ultimately snowballs into starvation.
It is undeniable that the Catholic Church never abandoned its divine duty to spread peace and help the peoples in need throughout the world through its various charity organization namely Caritas internationals and other numerous organizations, whereby such bodies bring genuine benefit to the peoples of the world and to the future generations.
It is important in this regard to recall His Holiness Pope Francis’ words on the World Day of the Poor on November 15, 2020, when he said, “We must do good, to come to ourselves and look, look at those who have more need. There is so much hunger, even in the heart of our cities. Many times, we enter into that logic of indifference: the poor is there, and we look the other way.”
It is also necessary in this respect to remember the famous miracle of Lord Jesus Christ recorded in the Holy Bible that has become known as the “feeding the 5,000” people, where He multiplied loaves of bread and fish many times over to feed a huge crowd of hungry people. This miracle prompts everyone to seek the mercy of the Lord by pleading with Him to extricate humanity from the affliction of hunger, to multiply food that fills the stomachs of the hungry and the poor, and to give the world His unique peace.
It is important in this regard to realize that His Holiness Pope Francis exploits every opportunity to shine light on the ills of modern life, including wars and famine among other things, in the hope that the staggering world would wake up, realize the prevailing crises, and find solutions to the impending problems before it is too late.
Thank you Pope France for your enlightened views which have to considered expeditiously by world leaders and peoples so as to set the world on the right path of the Divine love and mercy.