WHAT IF?

CAFOD campaign

CAFOD campaign

During a visit to Bristol, I heard about the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign. I saw a banner on display near Bristol’s Anglican Cathedral, a fine building. CAFOD along with over 100 charities in the UK is part of a coalition pushing for action by the G8 on the issue of global hunger, so that 2013 can be the beginning of the end of global hunger. The G8 leaders are due to meet at the Lough Erne resort, near Enniskillen in County Fermanagh in June.

Deacon David Brinn

Deacon David Brinn

CAFOD is the official overseas aid agency of the Catholic church in England and Wales. The group’s organiser in the Diocese of Clifton is Deacon David Brinn, who is based in the parish of Frome in Somerset. He was invited to speak at a Mass at the university chaplaincy in Bristol, at which he set out the aims of the campaign. He said there are four main “ifs”:-

There is Enough Food for Everyone….

IF  we force governments and investors to be honest and open about the deals they make in the poorest countries that stop people getting enough food.

IF  governments keep their promises on aid, invest to stop children dying from malnutrition and help the poorest people feed themselves through investment in small farmers.

IF  we stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and use the available agricultural land to grow food for people, not biofuels for cars.

IF  governments stop big companies dodging tax in poor countries, so that millions of people can free themselves from hunger.

CAFOD is a sister organisation of Trócaire, set up by the Irish Catholic Bishops forty years ago for overseas aid. This week representatives of Trócaire are at the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. Both groups are affiliates of Caritas International. More details of the CAFOD campaign including details of how to lobby MPs can be found here. One in eight people in the world go hungry.

One final observation about the Catholic community in Bristol. While walking around the city centre I came across the church of St Mary on the Quay, Colston Street. In the pastoral care of the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD), it was a Jesuit parish from 1861 until 1996, when a lack of priests meant that the order had to withdraw their services. Now, for similar reasons, the Jesuits are leaving the Sacred Heart parish in Wimbledon, where I used to live.

St Ignatius of Loyola SJ

St Ignatius of Loyola SJ

Among the statues there which shows the Jesuit influence is one of St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. Perhaps I should have taken the hint and speculated what if the new Pope were to be a Jesuit! Certainly the election of Cardinal Bergoglio from Buenos Aires as Pope Francis I is very welcome. I hope the first Jesuit to become Pontiff will bring a wind of change with him, as we were promised during the Papacy of John XXIII.

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