Pope Francis meets with Father Federico Lombardi, president of the Ratzinger Foundation and Vatican spokesman during Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate (left), and the 2023 Ratzinger Prize recipients Father Pablo Blanco Sarto (center) and Professor Francesc Torralba (right) at the Vatican on Nov. 30, 2023. / Credit: Vatican Media Rome Newsroom, Dec 1, 2023 / 15:20 pm (CNA). The Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation awarded its annual Ratzinger Prize this week to two Spaniards, the theologian Father Pablo Blanco Sarto and the philosopher Professor Francesc Torralba, the first time the award was held since the passing of the late pontiff last December.The award ceremony took place in the frescoed state hall of the Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace on the evening of Nov. 30 and discussed the legacy of Pope Benedict’s rich theological works, focusing specifically on the theme of dialogue between faith and reason, one of the major concerns of his pontificate.“The legacy of Pope Benedict XVI is alive and will continue to bear important fruits to the path of the Church,” Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said at the event.Father Federico Lombardi, president of the Ratzinger Foundation and Vatican spokesman during Benedict’s pontificate, opened the event reflecting on Benedict’s deep contribution to the understating of the relationship between faith and reason.“Joseph Ratzinger never wanted to build his own system of thought or establish his own school but taught us to seek the truth with the power of reason and the light of faith, always keeping reason ‘open,’ in dialogue between people, disciplines, and the great religious traditions,” Lombardi said.The pope “was well aware of the possibilities and risks of humanity’s journey, as well as of the Church’s mission for its salvation. He leads us to enter with humility and courage at the deepest level to find and rediscover points of reference and solid and inalienable communities,” Lombardi continued.Ratzinger Prize recipient Father Pablo Blanco Sarto speaks at the award ceremony on Nov. 30, 2023, in the state hall of the Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican. Credit: Elizabeth Alva/EWTNThe Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, established in 2007, aims at “the promotion of theology in the spirit of Joseph Ratzinger.” There have been a total of 28 recipients of the award — usually two recipients per year — since it was first bestowed in 2011.The recipients this week were introduced by Cardinals Gianfranco Ravasi and Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, with each reflecting on their work on Benedict’s theology.“Ratzinger defined Christianity as the religion of the words but also the religion of ‘agape’ and, therefore, both are key,” Torralba said in an interview with EWTN. “We have to introduce rationality in our public life because it is very marked by emotionalism and sometimes by fanaticism and fundamentalism, but on the other hand, the world needs agape and agape is donation, it is gratuitous love.”The morning of the award ceremony, the recipients celebrated Mass in the Vatican Grotto, where they then prayed before the tombs of St.
Baby Indi Gregory was baptized on Sept. 22, 2023. Despite not being religious, Dean Gregory, her father, expressed that his time in court fighting for his daughter’s life felt like he had been “dragged to hell.” The experience moved him to decide to have his daughter baptized. / Credit: Christian Concern CNA Staff, Dec 1, 2023 / 11:35 am (CNA). Pope Francis sent his condolences on Friday to the family of Indi Gregory, the British baby who died last month after U.K. courts ordered her life support removed. The 8-month-old baby died in her mother’s arms in a hospice on Nov. 13, having suffered from a rare degenerative mitochondrial disease over the course of her short life. England’s high court had ruled that it was in the child’s “best interests” to be taken off life support against her parents’ wishes.Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said in a telegram addressed to Bishop Patrick McKinney of Nottingham on Friday that the Holy Father “was saddened to learn of the death of little Indi Gregory.”The pope “sends condolences and the assurance of his spiritual closeness to her parents, Dean and Claire, and to all who mourn the loss of this precious child of God,” the telegram said. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said on its website that the Friday message was read aloud at baby Indi’s funeral. The Vatican had said in November that Francis was praying for the baby amid the life support dispute. “Entrusting Indi into the tender and loving hands of our Heavenly Father, His Holiness joins those gathered for her funeral in thanking Almighty God for the gift of her all-too-short life,” the Friday telegram said. Quoting the Gospel of Matthew, the Vatican said Francis “likewise prays that the Lord Jesus, who said to his disciples, ‘Let the little children come to me… for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs’ will grant abiding comfort, strength, and peace to you all.”The decision to remove baby Indi from life support was the culmination of a bitter back-and-forth between her parents and the British courts. British Justice Robert Peel originally ruled in early November, following an “urgent online hearing,” that her life support be discontinued. The family appealed the decision, but a panel of judges subsequently ruled that the life support removal continue. At one point the Vatican’s pediatric hospital, Bambino Gesù, offered to treat the 8-month-old baby, with the Italian government electing to grant her Italian citizenship and to cover the cost of her medical treatment.Dean Gregory said the fight over his daughter’s life left him feeling as if he’d been “dragged to hell” and ultimately influenced his decision to have the girl baptized.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin. / Claude Truong-Ngoc via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0). Rome Newsroom, Dec 1, 2023 / 09:00 am (CNA). The Holy See’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin will head the Vatican’s delegation to the COP28 climate conference in place of Pope Francis, who continues to recover from an acute bronchial infection. “I can confirm that the cardinal secretary of state, Pietro Parolin, will preside over the Delegation of the Holy See already present in Dubai on the occasion of COP28 to bring, on Saturday, Dec. 2, the contribution that the Holy Father would have liked to make,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement released Friday. The conference began on Thursday and will conclude Dec. 12.In the days leading up the announcement, Parolin hinted that he would be going to the conference, telling journalists gathered at the lower chamber of the Italian Parliament: “I have usually participated in all of them, starting with the COP in Paris and all the COPs, so I think I will go this time, too, but obviously shortening my stay.” “There is the delegation that stays for the whole two weeks of the works; I would only participate in the first part of the works,” Parolin said. The Vatican announced on Tuesday that it was canceling the 86-year-old pontiff’s trip to Dubai at the behest of his doctors. The pope has been struggling since last week with both a mild flu and lingering symptoms from that illness.Francis said Thursday that he was still struggling with an acute bronchial infection stemming from the flu infection. The Vatican subsequently reported that the pope’s condition was improving, though he was still on an intravenous antibiotic treatment. “As you see, I am alive. The doctor didn’t let me go to Dubai. The reason is that it is very hot there, and you go from the heat to the air conditioning,” Pope Francis informed participants in a health ethics seminar at the Vatican on Nov. 30.Pope Francis shared his hopes for the conference in a Thursday post on X.“May participants in #COP28 be strategists who focus on the common good and the future of their children, rather than the vested interests of certain countries or businesses. May they demonstrate the nobility of politics and not its shame,” he said.May participants in #COP28 be strategists who focus on the common good and the future of their children, rather than the vested interests of certain countries or businesses. May they demonstrate the nobility of politics and not its shame.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 30, 2023 The Conference of the Parties is an annual climate change summit of the United Nations, held since 1995, that brings together states and nonstate actors in order to discuss meeting current benchmarks in the reduction of carbon emissions and to spearhead initiatives.The participants include the countries that are signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). One of the major achievements of the COP was the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement during COP21 in
Pope Francis meets with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I at the Vatican on Oct. 4, 2021. / Credit: Vatican Media Rome Newsroom, Nov 30, 2023 / 11:13 am (CNA). On the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, Pope Francis sent a message to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople expressing his “fraternal affection” and reflecting on the “deep bonds of faith, hope, and charity” between the two churches.The pope opened the letter by focusing on the journey of reconciliation between the two churches, noting that the feast of St. Andrew precedes the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in Jerusalem in January 1964.“That encounter was a vital step forward in breaking down the barrier of misunderstanding, distrust, and even hostility that had existed for almost a millennium. It is noteworthy that today we remember not so much the words and statements of those two prophetic pastors but above all their warm embrace,” the pope said in his letter. “The example of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras shows us that all authentic paths to the restoration of full communion among the Lord’s disciples are characterized by personal contact and time spent together,” Francis continued. That meeting was an inflection point in the Catholic-Orthodox relationship, from one of estrangement to one of dialogue, as it was the first time since 1483 that a pope and an ecumenical patriarch met. Pope Francis also noted that “it is highly significant that this journey of reconciliation, increasing closeness, and overcoming of obstacles still impeding full visible communion began with an embrace, a gesture that eloquently expresses the mutual recognition of ecclesial fraternity.”Pope Francis every year sends a message on the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle to the ecumenical patriarch, who is the successor of St. Andrew and the “first among equals” in the Eastern Orthodox Church.This year the pope expressed his “gratitude” and thanked the patriarch for his attendance at the ecumenical prayer vigil ahead of the opening of October’s Synod on Synodality. In a press release before the event, the Holy See said that the vigil was prepared in order to “emphasize the centrality of prayer in the synodal process, which is a spiritual process” and “underline the articulation between the synodal path and the ecumenical path.”“Your personal support and that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, expressed also through the participation of a fraternal delegate in the work of the assembly, are a great source of encouragement for the fruitful continuation of the ongoing synodal process in the Catholic Church,” Pope Francis said in his letter. The prayer vigil was also attended by other religious leaders including Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, Coptic Pope Tawadros II, and Pastor Anne Burghardt of the Lutheran World Federation. In Instrumentum Laboris, the Vatican’s working document that guided Synod on Synodality discussions, the theme of ecumenism featured prominently. “Indeed, both synodality and ecumenism are rooted in the baptismal dignity of the entire people of God. Together they invite renewed commitment to the vision of a missionary synodal Church. They are
Bishop Stefan Oster. / Credit: Diocese of Passau Vatican City, Nov 30, 2023 / 16:25 pm (CNA). A prominent German bishop and steadfast opponent of the controversial Synodal Way has leveled his harshest criticism yet of the state of the Catholic Church in his own country, describing the German episcopacy as deeply “divided”— and warned of potentially catastrophic consequences for Catholic believers.In the latest in a series of high-profile critiques of the German Synodal Way, Bishop Stefan Oster of the Diocese of Passau did not shy away from identifying profound theological disagreements as the source of division within the Catholic Church in Germany.“It is a tragedy that we, German bishops, have so little agreement on key issues of anthropology and ecclesiology,” Oster told the Polish Catholic publication Gosc Niedzielny in an interview published Nov. 30.The divided episcopacy “is obviously a disaster for the faithful in Germany,” said the 58-year-old Oster, who was tapped by Pope Francis to participate in the Vatican’s recent Synod on Synodality assembly after he was not selected as a delegate by the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK).Divisions in the German episcopacy recently came to the forefront when Oster and three other bishops — Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne, Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, and Bishop Gregor Hanke of Eichstatt — boycotted a Nov. 10-11 meeting of a committee of Synodal Way leadership. The committee was created with the intent of establishing a permanent synodal council of laity and bishops to govern the Church in Germany — something explicitly forbidden in a January letter from top Vatican officials to the DBK specifically approved by Pope Francis.While his decision to not participate highlighted divisions in Germany, Oster explained his choice was “aimed precisely at maintaining unity with Rome.”“I was faced with a choice: to clearly highlight the existing polarization among bishops or to highlight my path of unity with the universal Church,” said the Bavarian bishop, whose diocese is in the southeast corner of Germany and has the highest rate of Catholics per capita.Growing criticismThe Synodal Way, which began in December 2019 as an initiative of the DBK and the Central Committee for German Catholics (ZdK), a lobby of lay Church employees, has come under criticism in recent weeks as its proponents push forward with efforts to change Church teaching and practice related to human sexuality, sacramental ordination, and Church governance.In a Nov. 11 letter to four German laywomen who had written Pope Francis to express their concerns about the Catholic Church in Germany, Pope Francis wrote that “numerous steps” being taken by some in the local Church — including the work of the synodal committee — “threaten to steer it increasingly away from the universal Church’s common path.”One of the Vatican’s top officials, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, also informed the German bishops in an Oct. 23 letter that changes in the Church’s teaching on same-sex sexual relations and male-only holy orders were not on the table in meetings between Rome and Synodal Way delegates moving forward.In addition,
Pope Francis meets participants in the Ethics of Healthcare Management seminar on Nov. 30, 2023. / Credit: Vatican Media Vatican City, Nov 30, 2023 / 08:15 am (CNA). Pope Francis told health care professionals on Thursday that he has “very acute infectious bronchitis” and was advised not to travel to Dubai to avoid the extreme change in temperature. The pope, who will turn 87 on Dec. 17, quipped, “As you can see, I am alive,” as he met participants in a health care ethics seminar in a morning audience at the Vatican.“Thank God it wasn’t pneumonia. It is a very acute, infectious bronchitis. I do not have a fever anymore, but am still on antibiotics and such,” Pope Francis said on Nov. 30.Despite feeling under the weather, the pope maintained a very full schedule on Thursday with nine official meetings scheduled for the morning, including an audience with the International Theological Commission, bishops from Canada, and German Bishop Heiner Wilmer of Hildesheim.The Vatican has described the pope’s health condition as “influenza” with “lung inflammation” that has caused him some “breathing difficulties.”Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the airways leading into the lungs (called bronchi) that can be caused by the same viruses as the flu but may also be caused by a bacterial infection. Bronchitis is a different, but common complication of influenza that can cause a nagging cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain. Acute bronchitis can be contagious, according to the Mayo Clinic.A CT scan at a Rome hospital on Nov. 25 “ruled out pneumonia,” according to the Vatican. On Nov. 28, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said that the pope’s doctors had advised him not to travel to Dubai this week for the United Nations COP28 climate conference because the pope had “the flu and inflammation of the respiratory tract.”Pope Francis himself explained the decision on Thursday in his off-the-cuff remarks in Spanish to the health care seminar.“The doctor did not let me go to Dubai. The reason is that it is very hot there, and you go from heat to air conditioning,” he said, noting that this temperature change would not be good for his “bronchial condition.”Pope Francis was hospitalized in March due to a respiratory infection and complained that he was not feeling well on Nov. 6, following which the Vatican said that the pope had “a bit of a cold.”In his brief speech to the Ethics of Healthcare Management seminar, Pope Francis said that he was a fan of “preventive medicine.” “Health is like a contrary thing; it is strong and fragile ... Poorly cared for health gives way to fragility. I like preventive medicine very much because it prevents before events occur,” Pope Francis said.“I thank you for coming and forgive me for not being able to talk anymore, but I don’t have the energy,” he added.
The facade of Cardinal Raymond Burke's Vatican apartment. / Credit: Elizabeth Alva/EWTN Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 29, 2023 / 17:31 pm (CNA). Pope Francis reportedly has confirmed that he plans to take away Cardinal Raymond Burke’s Vatican apartment and salary but denied that he referred to the American prelate as his “enemy,” according to a web post by papal biographer Austen Ivereigh.The pope reportedly announced at a meeting of Vatican heads on Nov. 20 that he intended to take action against Burke, who has publicly criticized some papal initiatives, according to the Italian Catholic news blog La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, which first reported the news on Nov. 27.The Associated Press later confirmed the report based on conversations with two anonymous sources.The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Burke said he has not been informed of the pope’s intention to take away his apartment and salary.“People can draw their own conclusions about why the Holy Father told this to Austen Ivereigh and not the person concerned,” Burke said. He told the outlet that he intends to stay in Rome even if he is forced to find somewhere else to live.“It’s my duty as a cardinal to remain in Rome,” he said.Pope Francis removed Burke from the post of prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (the highest judicial authority in the Church) in 2014 and instead appointed him cardinal patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a mostly ceremonial role dedicated to the spiritual welfare of the members of the order. He remained patron until this year but had held only the title, having been reportedly restricted from active involvement since 2016 and thus sidelined during the extensive institutional reforms of the order over the last years.In an article that was highly critical of Burke published on the website Where Peter Is, Ivereigh wrote that Pope Francis confirmed to him that he plans to take away Burke’s apartment and salary.“I met with Pope Francis on the afternoon of November 27th. It was a short meeting because of his lung inflammation, which meant it took him some effort to speak. (The following evening his trip to Dubai was canceled because it had not improved enough.) In the course of our conversation, Francis told me he had decided to remove Cardinal Burke’s cardinal privileges — his apartment and salary — because he had been using those privileges against the Church,” Ivereigh wrote.“He told me that while the decision wasn’t a secret, he didn’t intend a public announcement but earlier that day (Monday) it had been leaked,” he wrote.Ivereigh is the author of two hagiographic biographies of Pope Francis and co-authored the 2020 book “Let Us Dream: A Path to a Better Future” with the Holy Father. He also holds a key advisory position in the current Synod on Synodality.Ivereigh wrote that the pope said, contrary to some media reports, that he did not refer to Burke as his “enemy.”According to the La Nuova Bussola Quotidian’s unnamed Vatican source, Pope Francis
Pope Francis greets pilgrims and poses for photos at the end of his general audience on Nov. 29, 2023. / Vatican Media CNA Staff, Nov 29, 2023 / 15:58 pm (CNA). The Vatican on Wednesday said Pope Francis’ health was stable as the Holy Father continues to receive treatment for ongoing lung inflammation stemming from a flu infection.“The Holy Father’s condition is stable; he has no fever, but lung inflammation associated with respiratory distress remains,” the Vatican said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.“He continues antibiotic therapy,” the statement added.Pope Francis has been struggling for several days with persistent symptoms following what the Vatican called a mild flu infection that developed last week.The Vatican announced on Tuesday that it had canceled the pope’s planned trip to Dubai this week due to his continuing struggles with lung inflammation. Francis had been scheduled to travel to Dubai to deliver a speech at the COP28 climate conference.The Vatican said on Monday that the Holy Father’s condition was “clearly improving,” with the pontiff in “good and stable” condition and without a fever.The pope last week visited the Gemelli Isola Hospital in Rome after his flu diagnosis. During that visit, Francis underwent a CT scan to rule out the risk of “pulmonary complications,” the Holy See said at the time.Francis, who turns 87 next month, has experienced a number of medical setbacks in recent years. He has been hospitalized on more than one occasion, most recently in June for abdominal surgery.Part of the pope’s right lung was removed in a surgery in 1957 in Argentina before he began his novitiate with the Jesuits. Earlier this year, the pope was treated for bronchitis for several days, quipping on his April 1 release: “I’m still alive, you know.”Though he continues to struggle with the symptoms from the flu, the pope has kept up a somewhat regular schedule at the Vatican this week, hosting a soccer team on Wednesday and appearing for his Wednesday audience (his prepared remarks, however, were read by a Vatican official), while the Holy Father also met with French abuse victims on Tuesday.
Pope Francis greets members of the public attending his weekly general audience in Paul VI Hall in Vatican City on Nov. 29, 2023. / Credit: Vatican Media Vatican City, Nov 29, 2023 / 10:00 am (CNA). Still recovering from the flu and a respiratory tract infection, Pope Francis attended his weekly general audience Wednesday but his reflection was read for him by a Vatican official.The Holy Father’s appearance in the Paul VI Audience Hall on Nov. 29 came a day after his doctors persuaded him to cancel a planned trip to Dubai for the COP28 conference on climate change, scheduled for Dec. 1–3.The pope, who needed to have an aide read his Angelus reflection on Sunday as well, sat on stage in front of the crowd throughout the one-hour public audience, which included a circus performance.In his prepared remarks, read by Monsignor Filippo Ciampanelli of the Holy See’s Secretariat of State, Pope Francis warned of the dangers of refashioning society on the basis of a technocratic and materialistic “vision of life that discards those who do not produce and struggles to look beyond the immanent.”This point was reinforced by referring to the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, which is a lesson about man’s “sacrificing all individuality to the efficiency of the collective.”One unique feature today, however, is that “we could even say that we find ourselves in the first civilization in history that globally seeks to organize a human society without the presence of God, concentrated in huge cities that remain horizontal despite their vertiginous skyscrapers,” the pope observed.In this search for “the efficiency of the collective” there is instead a desire “that absorbs the uniqueness of each into a bubble of uniformity.”But these tendencies “are dangerous, alienating, destructive ambitions” specifically in the context of the present moment as this “cohesion, instead of fraternity and peace, is often based on ambition, nationalism, homologation, and techno-economic structures that inculcate the persuasion that God is insignificant and useless: not so much because one seeks more knowledge, but above all for the sake of more power.”Pope Francis greets members of the public attending his weekly general audience in Paul VI Hall in Vatican City on Nov. 29, 2023. Credit: Vatican MediaCognizant of these challenges, Pope Francis suggested that Evangelii Gaudium, his 2013 apostolic exhortation on the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world, offers a potential antidote to this now ubiquitous tendency, saying there must be “an evangelization capable of shedding light on these new ways of relating to God, to others, and to the world around us, and inspiring essential values. It must reach the places where new narratives and paradigms are being formed, bringing the word of Jesus to the inmost soul of our cities.”Pope Francis noted that the proclamation of the Gospel is not merely an abstract project, nor is it just a “repetition of an acquired style, but testimony that the Gospel is alive today here for us.” Instead, it is built upon dialogue that requires “frequenting
Pope Francis speaks at his Wednesday audience in Paul VI Hall on Nov. 29, 2023. / Credit: Elizabeth Alva/EWTN Vatican City, Nov 29, 2023 / 06:20 am (CNA). One day after canceling his trip to Dubai at the request of his doctors, Pope Francis appeared at his public Wednesday audience and shared with a raspy voice that he was still not feeling well as he recovers from the flu. Pope Francis, who turns 87 in December, spoke softly into a microphone as he explained that he was “still not well” and would have an aide read his speech because his “voice is not good.”The pope could be heard breathing heavily as he stood to begin the general audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall with the sign of the cross on Nov. 29.Pope Francis has “influenza and inflammation of the respiratory tract,” according to the Vatican’s spokesman Matteo Bruni, who said on Nov. 28 that the pope’s condition had “improved.”“Doctors have asked the pope not to make the trip planned for the coming days to Dubai for the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” Bruni said in the written statement on Tuesday night.“Pope Francis accepted the doctors’ request with great regret,” he added.Pope Francis greets pilgrims and poses for photos at the end of his general audience on Nov. 29, 2023. Credit: Vatican MediaThe Vatican first made public that Pope Francis was ill on Nov. 25 when the pope was taken to a Rome hospital for precautionary testing.A CT scan at the hospital “ruled out pneumonia, but it showed lung inflammation causing some breathing difficulties,” it said.Pope Francis uses a cane to walk at his general audience on Nov. 29, 2023. Credit: Vatican MediaThe pope was treated earlier this week with intravenous antibiotics and continued to meet with individuals and groups in a scaled-back schedule, including the president of Paraguay on Monday and French abuse victims on Tuesday.At his Wednesday audience, Pope Francis sat on stage in front of the crowd in the Paul VI Hall throughout the one-hour public audience, which included a circus performance. Circus performers put on a show for the pope at the end of the general audience on Nov. 29, 2023. Credit: Vatican MediaMonsignor Filippo Ciampanelli, an official in the Vatican Secretariat of State, read aloud the pope’s spiritual reflection on “the passion for evangelization.”At the end of the general audience, Pope Francis spoke briefly, asking people to continue to pray for Israel and Palestine. He expressed hope that the cease-fire will continue and that all hostages will be released.“And please continue to pray for the grave situation in Israel and Palestine. Peace. Please, peace,” Pope Francis said.“I hope that the ongoing cease-fire in Gaza will continue, that all hostages will be released, and that necessary humanitarian aid will still be allowed in. I heard from the parish there that there is a lack of water, a lack of bread, and people are suffering,” he added. “We