Pope Francis has visited the World Food Programme of the United Nations, the agency that is working to address humanitarian emergencies around the world and to end hunger.
Pope Francis visited the headquarters in Rome and there he denounced the bureaucracies that prevent food from reaching those in need. He said, it is easier to smuggle weapons in than to send food.
"Whereas forms of aid and development projects are obstructed by involved and incomprehensible political decisions, skewed ideological visions and impenetrable customs barriers, weaponry is not. It makes no difference where arms come from; they circulate with brazen and virtually absolute freedom in many parts of the world. As a result, wars are fed, not persons.”
His proposal to overtake this form of bureaucracy is based on not seeing hunger and misery as mere statistics, but as real people with faces and stories.
"Poverty has a face! It has the face of a child; it has the face of a family; it has the face of people, young and old. It has the face of widespread unemployment and lack of opportunity. It has the face of forced migrations, and of empty or destroyed homes.”
Pope Francis offered the Catholic Church's full cooperation to the "Zero Hunger” campaign to totally eliminate hunger by 2030. He said that the fault is in both food waste and the merchandizing of food.
"Let us be clear. Food shortage is not something natural, it is not a given, something obvious or self-evident. The fact that today, well into the twenty-first century, so many people suffer from this scourge is due to a selfish and wrong distribution of resources, to the "merchandizing” of food.”
Before leaving, Pope Francis wanted to greet the employees of the World Food Programme in the garden. He decided to put aside his speech and improvised a few words in Italian to thank them for their anonymous work.
"Out there, no one knows your name, but your names make this great work for the fight against hunger a possibility.”
It was an exciting short visit, the general director of the World Food Programme made a request outside protocol.
"I know this is not appropriate, but I'd like to give you a hug.”
The Pope asked her to pray for him in return for the visit so that he also can continue in the fight against world hunger.