Current economic systems in the world must be changed, in order to end the massive problem of world hunger, Pope Benedict told pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square on Sunday. In remarks before the Angelus prayer, the Pope recalled that Sunday in Italy was the Day of Thanksgiving, the theme of which is: "The earth, a gift for the entire human family." In Christian families, he said, "children are taught always to thank the Lord before eating, with a brief prayer and the sign of the cross. This custom must be conserved and rediscovered, because it educates people not to take their 'daily bread' for granted but to recognize it as a gift of Providence. "We should become accustomed to blessing the Creator for all things," the Pope added. "Jesus taught His disciples to pray by asking the heavenly Father not for 'my' but for 'our' daily bread. In this way, He wished every man and woman to feel a shared responsibility for their fellows, that no one may lack the necessities of life. The products of the earth are a gift intended by God 'for the entire human family.' "And here we touch upon a very painful point: the dramatic problem of hunger which, though it has been tackled, even recently, at the highest institutional level, such as the United Nations and in particular the FAO, remains a very serious problem. The latest FAO annual report confirmed what the Church already well knows from the direct experience of her communities and missionaries: that over 800 million people live in a state of undernourishment, and that too many people, especially children, die of hunger." How, the Pope asked, "can we face this situation which, though repeatedly denounced, shows no sign of improving, indeed, in some ways is getting worse? It is certainly necessary to eliminate the structural causes linked to the system of managing the world economy, which restricts the majority of the planet's resources to a minority of the population. This injustice has been stigmatized on a number of occasions by my venerated predecessors, Servants of God Paul VI and John Paul II. In order to make a significant impression, it is necessary to 'convert' the global development model. It is not only the scandal of hunger that demands as much, but also the emergence of problems associated with the environment and energy. All the same, individuals and families can and must do something to alleviate hunger in the world by adopting a style of life and consumption compatible with the safeguarding of creation," and showing "justice towards those who cultivate the land in all countries" of the world. The Holy Father concluded by affirming that this Day of Thanksgiving "invites us, on the one hand, to give thanks to God for the fruits of agricultural labour. On the other, it encourages us to make a real commitment to defeating the scourge of hunger." Source: VIS
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