E-mail the Vatican, say missionaries (6/12/2004)

The Columban Missionaries - a Roman Catholic organisation of missionary priests, sisters and laity -are calling for letters to be sent to the Justice and Peace Council appealing to the Holy See not to endorse genetic engineering as a solution to world hunger.

The Columban Missionaries are calling on the Vatican to instead organise a serious and inclusive consultation on food and how to combat hunger in a world of plenty.

They're asking for the consultation process to draw on the experience and expertise of as wide a group as possible and for it to be particularly sensitive to contributions from local churches where poverty and hunger are widespread.

E-mail the Vatican:

The concerns of the Columban Missionaries together with multiple resources on this issue can be found on their website: http://www.columban.com

Here are some of their concerns:

Moral Imperative of Biotechnology ?

Since November 2003, when the Vatican hosted an international seminar on genetically modified foods, there has been a growing concern, especially among grass roots environmental, development, farming organizations and local Churches, particularly in the Third Word, that the Vatican is supporting the use of genetically engineered crops.

Since then, another Conference organized by the Pontifical Academy of Science and the US Embassy to the Holy See - 'Feeding the Hungry: Moral Imperative of Biotechnology' – took place in the Gregorian University in September 2004.

The Study-Document on the Use of 'Genetically Modified Food Plants to Combat Hunger in the World' published by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2004 promotes genetically engineered crops as a way to solve world hunger.

The majority of the speakers invited to both conferences are well known GMO advocates. There was a noticeable absence of scientists or development workers who question both the safety of GE crops and the proposition that these will play a significant role in banishing hunger.

Even though the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace denied the November 2003 conference was biased in favour of GMOs and insisted that both sides of the issue will be considered when the Vatican finally made a decision on GMOs, there is no evidence that critical views of GMOs are being seriously entertained.
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