In a message to world leaders participating in the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, Pope Francis urged them to “give absolute priority to the poor, refugees, those suffering, the displaced, those excluded, without national, racial, religious or cultural distinction.”
To provide for sustainable and equitable growth, the Pontiff said, world leaders must agree to “resolve economic differences peacefully and to agree on common financial and trade rules to allow integral development of all.” He also insisted that achieving worldwide development “will not be possible unless all parties commit themselves to substantially reducing levels of conflict, halting the present arms race, and renouncing direct or indirect involvement in conflicts.”
Pope Francis made a special plea for help from the world’s wealth nations to those who are living now in acute need “in South Sudan, the Lake Chad basin, the Horn of Africa, and Yemen.” He reported that 30 million people in those regions are facing an imminent danger of starvation.”
The head of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, said at a conference in Rome that 20 million people are “severely affected” by a high risk of famine in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen.
In addition, 19 nations are in a “protracted crisis situation,” typically because of war, droughts, and floods.
In a message of support to the conference, delivered by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Pope Francis called for international recognition of a right to food.
Pope Francis’s prayer intention for July is for lapsed Christians, that “our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, may rediscover the merciful closeness of the Lord and the beauty of the Christian life.”
The Apostleship of Prayer, an apostolate of the Society of Jesus entrusted with the monthly intentions, has offered a reflection based on the prayer intention, and will likely soon release a video in which Pope Francis discusses the intention.