Pope Benedict XVI denounced speculation in commodities markets Friday and demanded a global response to high food prices based on solidarity, not profit.
Benedict told delegates of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization that access to food is a basic human right that must be guaranteed. He said it's urgent to develop economic models that aren't just based on profit but take into account the "human dimension."
"How can we remain silent when even food has become the object of speculation or is linked to a market that, without any regulation and deprived of moral principles, appears linked solely to an objective of profit?" he asked.
High food prices, he said, require an international response by countries and institutions like the FAO to uphold the dignity of all people.
Benedict's call echoed the argument laid out in his last encyclical "Charity in Truth," which denounced the profit-at-all cost mentality blamed for the global economic downturn.
Members of the FAO who attended the audience earlier recently elected a new director-general, Jose Graziano da Silva of Brazil, who takes over at a time when FAO's mission to eradicate world hunger has been challenged by near-record high food prices.