Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Pope Francis on Thursday called the lack of safe drinking water in the world an "immense shame" in the 21st century.
Speaking at a one-day international conference at Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome, the pope said better access to drinking water must be provided to people around the globe.
He said people dying from the lack of clean water "is an immense shame for humanity in the 21st century," according to ANSA. Pope Francis added that "unfortunately, in many of the countries where the population does not have regular access to drinking water, there is no shortage of arms and ammunition, which continues to worsen the situation."
Pope Francis said that corruption and corporate interest are often put ahead of needs of people who need clean drinking water to live, according to the Vatican News. He called on those attending the conference to express urgency in the matter.
He said that the Catholic Church is "committed to the access to clean water for all. This commitment is manifested in many initiatives such as the creation of infrastructure, training, and advocacy ..."
During mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, Pope Francis told the congregation that bearing the "witness" of Jesus Christ the best way to grow the church, even though it is the harder path.
"Bearing witness is breaking a habit, a way of being... Breaking it for the better, changing it," the pope said, according to Vatican News. "For this reason, the church advances through witness. What is attractive [to people] is the witness. Not the words, which help, yes; but witness is what is attractive, and what makes the Church grow."