10/22/2020

Pope Francis urged a global move to divert money from national military spending and use it to “definitely defeat hunger.”

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ROME — Repeating a call first made by St. Paul VI, Pope Francis urged a global move to divert money from national military spending and use it to “definitely defeat hunger.”

Addressing representatives of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization Oct. 16, World Food Day, Pope Francis seemed to go a step further than St. Paul VI, who — in his 1967 encyclical “Populorum Progressio” — asked “world leaders to set aside part of their military expenditures for a world fund to relieve the needs of impoverished peoples.”

Pope Francis, in his recent encyclical Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship and in his video message to the FAO, said that “a courageous decision would be to use the money spent on arms and other military expenditures to constitute a ‘Global Fund’ so that we can definitively defeat hunger and help the development of the poorest countries.”

As the U.N. agency celebrated its 75th anniversary, Pope Francis told staff and members, “Your mission is beautiful and important, because you are working to defeat hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.”

The task is getting more difficult, he said.

“Unfortunately,” the pope said, “we note that, according to the most recent statistics from the FAO, despite the efforts made in recent decades, the number of people facing hunger and food insecurity has grown and is growing, and the current pandemic will further exacerbate these figures.”

“For humanity, hunger is not just a tragedy, but a shame,” he said.

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