Putting Part 2 of Deus Caritas Est into Action
“And here we touch upon a very painful point: the tragedy of hunger that, despite the fact that even recently it has been addressed in the highest institutional quarters, such as the United Nations and in particular the FAO, continues to be very grave always. The last annual FAO report confirmed what the Church knows very well through the direct experience of communities and missionaries: that more than 800 million people live in a situation of malnutrition and too many people, especially children, die of hunger.
How can this situation be addressed that, though repeatedly denounced, is not resolved, but on the contrary is getting worse in different ways? Surely it is necessary to eliminate the structural causes linked to the system of government of the world economy, which allocates the greater part of the planet’s resources to a minority of the population. This injustice was criticized on different occasions by my venerated predecessors, the Servants of God Paul VI and John Paul II.
To be able to influence on a large scale it is necessary “to convert” the model of global development; this is required now not only by the scandal of hunger, but also by the environmental and energy emergencies. However, each person and each family can and must do something to alleviate hunger in the world, adopting a style of life and consumption compatible with the safeguarding of creation and with criteria of justice toward those who cultivate the land in every country.”
-from Pope Benedict XVI’s pre-Angelus address (11/12/06)
The line that really stands out to me is: “…each person and each family can and must do something to alleviate hunger in the world, adopting a style of life and consumption compatible with the safeguarding of creation and with criteria of justice toward those who cultivate the land in every country.” It is important to remember that justice and environmentalist concern are not unrelated and the neglect of one frequently leads to the neglect of the other. Also, Catholic spirituality is not neo-gnostic; our spirituality is rooted in our existence within a social context.
I only want to add one more thought: The Pope, having penned his desire for the work of the individual Christian in charity and justice in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est, is now directly challenging, even obligating, each Christian to work towards eliminating the unjust and disproportate consumption of the world’s resources and the unfair distribution of wealth. Those of us who are memebers of industrial countries are under a peculiarly heavy yoke.