PONTIFICAL COUNCIL for INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE

TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE 38th CONFERENCE
OF THE FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION
OF THE UNITED NATIONS

20 JUNE 2013 

...The crisis will not be completely over until situations and living conditions are examined in terms of the human person and human dignity.

The human person and human dignity risk being turned into vague abstractions in the face of issues like the use of force, war, malnutrition, marginalization, violence, the violation of basic liberties, and financial speculation, which presently affects the price of food, treating it like any other merchandise and overlooking its primary function. Our duty is to continue to insist, in the present international context, that the human person and human dignity are not simply catchwords, but pillars for creating shared rules and structures capable of passing beyond purely pragmatc or technical approaches in order to eliminate divisions and to bridge existing differences. In this regard, there is a need to oppose the shortsighted economic interests and the mentality of power of a relative few who exclude the majority of the world’s peoples, generating poverty and marginalization and causing a breakdown in society. There is likewise a need to combat the corruption which creates privileges for some and injustices for many others...

...What is demanded of FAO, its member States, and every institution of the international community, is openness of heart. There is a need to move beyond indifference and a tendency to look the other way, and urgently to attend to immediate needs, confident that the fruits of today’s work will mature in the future. We cannot devise programs which are bureaucratic and antisceptic, which do do not work today. Every proposal must involve everyone. To move forward constructively and fruitfully in the different functions and responsibilities involves the ability to analyze, understand, and engage, leaving behind the temptations of power, wealth or self-interest and instead serving the human family, especially the needy and to those suffering from hunger and malnutrition.

We are all aware that one of the first effects of grave food crises – and not simply those caused by natural disasters or violent conflicts – is the uprooting of individuals, families and communities. The separation is a painful one; it is not limited to their lands, but extends to their entire existential and spiritual environment, threatening and at times shattering their few certainties in life. This process, which is now taking place worldwide, demands that international relations once more be regulated by their underlying ethical principles and recover the authentic spirit of solidarity which can guarantee the effectiveness of every cooperative undertaking...