In his new encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis proposes the creation of a global fund against hunger which would be financed by the astronomic budget allocations for military expenditures.
“With the money used in weapons and other military expenses, we set up a global fund to end hunger for good and for the development of the poorest countries,” writes the pope on the encyclical letter signed at the tomb of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy.
Written five years after Laudato Si, the new encyclical has fraternity and social friendship as its central themes, and was inspired by the figure of St. Francis of Assisi. In the document, Francis suggests ways to build a more just and peaceful world in which we recognize each other as brothers and sisters of the same human family.
Addressed to all his “brothers and sisters” living in a wounded world brought to its knees by the coronavirus pandemic and other crises including poverty, hunger, racism and violence, Pope Francis invites everyone “to renewed hope.”
The encyclical has been acclaimed as a timely document, laying out a post COVID-19 vision so much lacking in a chaotic world manipulated by populists disseminating misinformation. Some of our brothers from the Islamic religion welcomed the encyclical letter as a further step in consolidating the bonds of friendship between religions.
Pope Francis is standing out as a credible and moral figure, offering a pathway out of the current crisis humanity is experiencing. In the middle of an unprecedented calamity, the pope is urging nations to come together as a force to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The popular proverb applies in the current circumstances: “We either stick together or succumb together.”
Among the various suggestions Fratelli Tutti puts forward, including the rejection of the death penalty, the idea of a global fund to combat hunger appears as a prophetic vision. The actual pandemic has exacerbated hunger and poverty due to unemployment and the collapse of the economies as a result of the lockdowns.
The global fund would be financed by money spent in military expenditures which appear unabated even in the midst of the pandemic. It is estimated that a small fraction of the expenses in armaments can, indeed, alleviate the basic and urgent needs of the most vulnerable people, like food and shelter. Are world leaders willing to embrace this prophecy as the new normal in a post COVID-19 world?