Feeding the Poor? Pope Benedict Does More Than That

Ever heard of the saying the “fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?” This is not a fine dining story. Rather, this is a story of the first steps to fight poverty. That first step is through the stomach.

Pope Benedict XVI reportedly hosted a lunch banquet at the Vatican feeding 350 poor people. The Pope sat at a table with 14 of them. The meal included lasagna, potatoes, pandoro cake and coffee.

For this action, Hindus have applauded the Pope and was given a garland following an Indian tradition.

“It was a step in the right direction,” said Rajan Zed in a statement in Nevada. Zed is a Hindu statesman and president of the Universal Society of Hinduism. He urged the Pope and other world religious leaders to work together to fight poverty.

Poverty is one of the monumental crises and the biggest challenge the world faces today. Eradicating it is a moral priority.

Zed also argues that all religions should not remain silent spectators. Instead, followers and observers of different religions should become active partners in helping the poor. An immediate, collaborative and coordinated action is required for all religions to uplift the poor.

As a value system that urges its followers to practice self-restraint, religion offers an alternative to excessive consumption. Zed reiterates that people should not let excessive greed blind human behavior as it distracts us from helping the poor.

As a social force, religion has the capacity to effect societal change. Besides poverty, it is also very influential in handling common concerns like human improvement, peace, ecological responsibility, social and economic development.

Zed also stressed that the world religions should develop a global partnership to stamp out hunger and poverty. All religious traditions teach to help the poor and therefore should be the number one priority of religious leaders worldwide.

Pope Benedict heads the Roman Catholic Church which is the largest among Christian churches while Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world. It has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.