The WFP - World Food Programme’s leadership and executive board took place on June 12 and 13 to reflect on the organization's past, present, and hoped-for partnerships on hunger with religious and spiritual leaders and communities of different traditions from all around the world (including Pope Francis, who addressed the WFP leadership on Monday morning at the organization's headquarters in Rome).
The core theme is a shared common purpose towards a bold but achievable end: Zero Hunger by 2030. In preparing for the exchanges in Rome, WFP Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin, requested from a small group of religious leaders and actors short reflections on how they see the challenge and their visions, commitments, and exhortations aimed at providing ideas, cautions, and inspiration for dialogue and joint effort.
Among the leaders asked to contribute was the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter Turkson, the full text of whose reflection in English may be found below. [ITALIAN TEXT HERE]
(from Vatican Radio)
“FIGHT HUNGER, NOT THE HUNGRY”
Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson
President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Hunger is too real in this world. We either experience it or we know about it. We know that there are millions of human beings without enough nourishment for body, mind and spirit.
As long as hunger is not overcome, humanity will not live in peace. We will not have peace so long as some banquet daily while others are starving at their doorstep or on the other side of the planet. For ours is one common home, and we eat at one common table.
Let us work together for sustainable food, nutrition and food-security. Let us overcome food insecurity, not eliminate the hungry!
Many different approaches are needed. The key is to turn global hunger into a human issue: hunger comes from a lack of solidarity, hunger comes from failing to feel, relate and behave as brothers and sisters. And like every great human issue, it is also a moral issue. It involves the exercise of human freedom. We are free to show disinterest and indifference. We are free to exercise good will. The choice is no one else’s – it is our own free moral choice.
Pope Francis gives this example in Laudato si’: “When cooperatives of small producers adopt less polluting means of production, and opt for a non-consumerist model of life, recreation and community,” then “another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral” really does seem possible. “Will the promise last, in spite of everything, with all that is authentic rising up in stubborn resistance?”(§ 112).
The better alternatives may appear very small compared to the magnitude of the challenges we face. But it was also a little thing, those five loaves and two fish that, one day, an anonymous boy made available to Jesus facing thousands of hungry people. Not only was there enough to feed a crowd of five thousand: the left-overs filled twelve baskets. When food becomes Eucharist, when bread, recognized as a gift of God, is blessed, broken, given and shared, paradoxes are overcome and fraternity becomes reality. Joy fills our common home.