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September 2013: Minister’s Letter

Minister’s Letter

Br Benedict SSF

Br Benedict SSF

Brother Benedict, Minister Provincial of the First Order Brothers

in the European Province, writes:

 

Dear Friends,

A traditionally clad religious sister carried a placard emblazoned with the words ‘Hunger shouldn’t be a habit’!  This was just one placard among many carried by over 200 monks, friars, nuns and sisters who lobbied Parliament on May 16th this year in a protest organised by CAFOD as part of the ‘Enough food for  Everyone IF’ campaign: and Brothers Peter, Vaughan and Hugh and myself were part of that lobby.  Hunger is the greatest scandal and greatest challenge facing our generation, with one in eight people worldwide going hungry every day. And global targets for the eradication of hunger could be met by cracking down on tax-dodging by multinational companies in the developing world. As we walked, as a gaggle of Religious to Parliament, we were snapped by press photographers – and the odd curious tourist! – but once inside, the focus of our lobby was to meet with our local Members of Parliament.  Most of the Religious participants had lived in areas of great poverty and homelessness, deprivation and hunger either in this country or abroad and were moved to campaign for an end to hunger, to call for a new international convention on tax transparency, urging the government, which was chairing the forthcoming G8, to use its influence to address the problems.

Why did I march, protest, lobby?  Perhaps I do feel uncomfortable going to bed at night with a full belly and knowing that one in eight adults and children in the world go to theirs hungry.   Desmond Tutu said once, ‘show me a Bible and I will show you a political document’:   and maybe I can put it in words written by Martin Poulsom SDB, another Religious, (who wasn’t on this lobby) who said that we Christians are to be signs and bearers of God’s love to all creation ‘…playing an active part in the politics of the societies we live in, witnessing to God’s preferential love for the poor. …. We are called to be citizens of the planet, to be people who are a hopeful presence in the world (even an optimistic one), playfully inviting others to join us in making a future in which the fruits of creation are sustainably shared for the benefit of all.’

Spare a thought for the hungry of this world – and ask yourself, ‘What first step can I take to do something about it today?’

Pax et bonum,

Benedict