By Louise Royer (Translated by the Archdiocese of Montreal)

December 10, 2023, will mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On this occasion, the Social Action Office is recommending some concrete actions to be implemented in our various diocesan settings with the aim of improving measures that promote and protect human rights. This week’s topic is the right to food. 

First of all, why are we concerned with human rights? Because, as we know from Scripture, men and women have been created in the image of God and that, out of love, Jesus gave his life for us. Moreover, as part of its social doctrine, the Church proclaims as a basic principle the dignity of every individual person. In defending and promoting human rights, we put the Gospel into practice. “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me,” says Jesus in Matthew 25:40, while in the first line of the Declaration of Human Rights, the dignity inherent in every member of the human family is recognized. 

In Article 3, the Declaration proclaims the right to life; and in Article 25, it states that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food (…)” 

All parents are familiar with the responsibilities that make it possible for their children to exercise this right. We applaud all those who fulfil their responsibilities and ensure that the human right to food is recognized and realized for the great majority! Among these we can mention the Saint-Vincent de Paul Society, food counters, community kitchens, Meals on Wheels and breakfast clubs. 

And yet, for nearly 9.2% of the world’s population, the right to food remains a concept yet to be realized, and this figure has risen from the 2019 statistic of 7.9%. Every year on October 16, which is World Food Day, the Holy Father publishes a message addressed to the Director-General of the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization). This year, the theme of the message was water, life and food. Pope Francis states, “We are called (…) to think and act in terms of community, of solidarity, seeking to prioritize the lives of all over the appropriation of goods by the few.” 

Does this appeal resonate with us? Indeed it does! 

Metropolitan Montreal’s round table on hunger and social development (Table de concertation sur la faim et le développement social) has discovered that the large food companies reaped significant profits and generously rewarded their upper management, while food prices have increasingly risen beyond the economic reach of many consumers. Basing its findings on HungerCount, among other sources, the round table states that such practices jeopardize the human right to food, and it has launched a campaign to counter soaring food prices and food inflation. 

The Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops is supporting this campaign by inviting the public to sign a petition drafted by the round table demanding that food companies’ superprofits be taxed and that once such tax revenue has been collected, it should be redistributed to those most in need. 


An English version of the petition in pdf format is attached. The petition can be signed in French on the National Assembly’s website from now until November 22 at: 

This represents one action among the many initiatives possible in the vast project of promoting and protecting the right to food.