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Pope blames speculation, corruption for 'scandalous' food crisis

Published on Jun 20, 2013 8:05 PM

ROME (REUTERS) - Pope Francis said on Thursday that financial speculation and corruption were keeping millions of people in hunger, and the financial crisis could not be used as an alibi for failing to to help the poor.

The speech was the latest in a series of criticisms by the Argentinian Pontiff, the first Latin American Pope, of what he has called "the dictatorship of the economy" and the spread of consumerist values.

"It is a well-known fact that current levels of production are sufficient, yet millions of people are still suffering and dying of starvation. This is truly scandalous," he said in a speech to participants of a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation conference in Rome.

Francis has made repeated calls to tackle poverty and focus on the needs of the poor since he succeeded Pope Benedict XVI in March. He has made it his mission to rejuvenate an institution reeling from scandals, including widespread sexual abuse by priests, and losing people to other faiths.

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