Dear Friends and Colleagues,
The US continues to lobby the Pope and the Vatican to endorse GM crops as a solution to world hunger. Although this time it was a new Pope, Benedict XVI, and a new US Ambassador to the Holy See, Francis Rooney, the language was the same as when James Nicholson urged Pope John Paul II in September last year. The US insists on the "moral imperative" for the Catholic Church to condone and promote GM.
For the past years, Pope John Paul II always hinted at his disapproval of GM crops, for the way that they play God with nature, and for the patenting of life and monopolistic corporate ownership. However we do not now know what Pope Benedict XVI¹s position is.
The US does, however, have an ally in the Vatican, Cardinal Renato Martino, who has been known to misleadingly suggest that he speaks for the Vatican when he talks of the benefits of GM.
His statements led the Catholic Institute of International Relations to write Cardinal Martino a letter in January of this year, pointing out that he was right to draw attention to the urgent need to address the tragedy of global hunger, but that the causes of hunger were rooted in lack of access to food due to economic inequalities. They pointed out that hunger is not caused by low production, but unequal distribution. By suggesting that GM is a solution to hunger, the Vatican would risk diverting attention from the real and urgent causes of hunger.
Now the US is back in the Vatican, urgently lobbying for its own agenda, and dishonestly couching it in moral terms. Father Sean Macdonagh, a Columban Missionary from Ireland, has responded in an article below, reminding us of the science that has raises valid fears to human health and the environment from GMOs.
1. U.S. Ambassador Urges Vatican to Promote Potential of Biotech Crops to Fight Hunger
Article from the Associated Press. Date: 14 November 2005
2. Damage to Health and Environment from GMOs
Article from Father Sean McDonagh, SSC. Date: 15 November 2005
3. US lobbies Vatican on GM food and world hunger
Article from Catholic News. Date: 27 September 2004
4. Pope Hints at Thumbs-Down for GM Food
Article from Catholic News. Date: 18 October 2004
5. CIIR Letter to Archbishop Martino on GM Foods
Catholic Institute of International Relations. Date: 5 January 2005