Pope Francis arrived to the FAO headquarters in Rome and was welcomed by the Director General of this organization, José Graziano da Silva.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization held its Second International Conference on Nutrition. Pope Francis addressed its assembly with a speech that criticized that profit often overshadows the food industry.
"It is also painful to see that the struggle against hunger and malnutrition is hindered by "market priorities”, the "primacy of profit”, which have reduced food to a commodity like any other, subject to speculation, also of a financial nature. And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain, at the street corner. They ask to be recognized as citizens, to receive a healthy diet. We ask for dignity, not for charity.”
Using an image that John Paul II used during his visit to the same organization back in 1992, Pope Francis talked about the so called "paradox of abundance.”
"There is food for everyone, but not everyone can eat, while waste, excessive consumption and the use of food for other purposes happens before our very eyes.”
Any kind of pressure on food distribution, the Pope continued, is unacceptable. He also said the planet should be taken care of.
"I remember a phrase that I heard from an elderly man many years ago: God always forgives … our shortcomings, our abuse, God always forgives; people forgive at times; but the Earth never forgives. We must care for our sister the Earth, our Mother Earth, so that she does not respond with destruction.”
The Pope concluded that individualism and division in society end up taking away the dignity of the poorest. He also called on the international community to save lives by tackling world hunger.