July 1, 2013

It is "truly scandalous" that the global level of food production is enough to feed the planet's people, yet millions of people are malnourished and millions more "must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table," Pope Francis said.

Addressing the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization conference June 20, Pope Francis said the global financial crisis obviously has made the situation worse, but it cannot continue "to be used as an alibi."

Food is not simply a commodity but is a human necessity and right, he told 400 delegates from about 200 countries.

"The human person and human dignity risk turning into vague abstractions in the face of issues such as the use of force, war, malnutrition, marginalization, 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," the pope told the delegates.

But the problems affecting agriculture, forestry and fisheries in both developed and developing countries, he said, are not simply technical.

Any solutions must recognize that "the human person and human dignity are not simply catchwords, but pillars for creating shared rules and structures," he said.