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Monday, October 17, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 15, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was Benedict XVI's message to Jacques Diouf, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for the occasion of World Food Day, which is celebrated every year on October 16, the anniversary of the foundation of the organization in 1945.

  World Food Day, writes the Holy Father in his message to the director general, "reminds us that hunger and malnutrition are, unfortunately, one of most serious problems still affecting the life of the human family, and this makes the activity undertaken by the FAO under your mandate even more urgent."

  The Pope highlighted how "hunger does not depend only on conditions of geography and climate, or on unfavorable circumstances during harvest time. It is also provoked by human beings and by their selfishness, which are transformed into shortcomings of social organization: through the rigidity of economic structures, too often concerned only with profit, through practices hostile to human life, and through ideological systems that reduce people to the level of mere instruments, depriving them of their fundamental dignity."

  Going on the refer to the theme chosen for World Food Day, "Agriculture and inter-cultural dialogue," Benedict XVI observes how this represents an invitation "to consider dialogue as an effective instrument to create conditions of food security. ... Agreement among all protagonists, associated with effective cooperation, can contribute to building true peace and make it possible to overcome the recurring temptation to resort to conflict because of different cultural or ethnic standpoints."

  "It is likewise important to remain attentive to the various situations of humanity, in order to be able to maintain a variety of models of development and of forms of technical assistance depending on the particular conditions in each country and each community, be they economic or environmental conditions, or social, cultural and spiritual ones."

  "The Catholic Church," the Holy Father concludes, "which also participates in activities aimed at achieving truly harmonious development in collaboration with the associations present on the ground, wishes to encourage the activities and efforts of the FAO that it may, in its own way, give rise to true inter-cultural dialogue and contribute to increasing the capacity to nourish the world's population, while respecting bio-diversity. Indeed, human beings must not rashly compromise the natural balance, the fruit of the order of creation, but must protect it in order to leave future generations with a world capable of nourishing them."
MESS/FAO:WORLD FOOD DAY/DIOUF                    VIS 20051017 (420)

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