Pope Benedict XVI on hungerCalling hunger “the most cruel and concrete sign of poverty,” Pope Benedict XVI today told a special summit of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization that “opulence and waste are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greater proportions.”

The pontiff called for urgent action to combat world hunger, to protect the global environment and to rethink lifestyle choices in the West in his address to the Food and Agriculture Organization, which is based in Rome. Benedict’s decision to visit the Rome headquarters of FAO, rather than to insist that participants in the summit travel across town to the Vatican to be received in audience, was seen as a sign of the importance the pontiff attaches both to the issue of hunger and to the institution of the United Nations. More from John Allen

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