Pope's General Intention - April 2009

General Intention: Farmers and World Hunger. That our Lord may bless farmers with abundant harvests and sensitize the richer nations to respond to the ravages of hunger throughout the world.

We are frequently told that there is sufficient food in the world to feed everyone. The problem is that  up to 100 million people in the world struggle to afford the food that is available. This means that tens of thousands of small children die each day while their counterparts in the rich world become obese. There has to be something terribly wrong with economic arrangements that produce such unremitting misery. One can only salute the efforts of the Brazilian government’s Zero Hunger programme, and pray with the Holy Father that all nations, beginning with the most developed,   redouble their efforts to find global solutions for this terrible yet avoidable suffering.

We should not only pray, but also protest, about the biofuel industry. When staples like maize are  turned into fuel for cars in the West while children in the developing world go hungry, this is surely completely unacceptable. It is tantamount to burning good food. When good, arable land is being used for biofuels in developing countries, those countries risk losing even the small food-security they already have. Cash crops are all very well, but cash cannot buy food that isn’t there. Our prayer should also be for wisdom for leaders in this vital matter of food production and distribution.

This reflection, by Chris Chatteris, S.J.  originally appeared in The Southern Cross of South Africa (www.scross.co.za).

Note: At the beginning of each month we will present a brief reflection on a) the General Intention of the Pope for this month and b) his Mission Intention. Traditionally these intentions become the concluding part of the Morning or Daily Offering Prayer, recited daily by members of the Apostleship of Prayer (AOP).

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Peter Schineller, S.J.

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8 years 7 months ago
While rich nations can and should give aid to poorer countries out of charity, that activity suffers from the same problem as domestic social programs: governments are TERRIBLY inefficient at doing this kind of work. The better way for us as a Church and world to help poor at home and abroad is to have governments pull out of direct aid to a degree; redirect the money via charitable giving or government grants to groups that are more efficient (and care about the poor personally); and increase our efforts to support and encourage young people to volunteer, do charity year programs (JVC for example), and even consider entering the priesthood and religious life (the most efficient and compassionate givers of charity known to man).

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