Vatican Not Worried about the "Dignity of Plants"*

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Good news–the Pope is going to come out in favor genetically modified crops:

The Vatican has moved from a neutral position in a Europe-US confrontation over GM food and will come down in favour of genetic modification in a major report to be released next month.

Truthabouttrade reports the Vatican has stunned opponents of genetically modified foods by declaring they hold the answer to world starvation and malnutrition. Until Sunday's statement the Vatican had been neutral in the European Union-US confrontation over GM food, the paper says.

Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said the Vatican was preparing an official report on biotechnology, to be published next month, which would come down in favour of genetic modification. The document will coincide with a debate on GM by EU farm ministers.

He said the Pope was greatly interested in new technologies for food development as part of a policy of sustainable agriculture. He noted that 24,000 people died every day from starvation.

Cardinal Martino, who until last year was the Vatican representative at the UN, said he had lived for 16 years in the US "and I ate everything that was offered to me, including genetically modified products. They had no effect on my health. This controversy is more political than scientific."

The Vatican study will argue the future of humanity is at stake and that there is no room for the ideological arguments advanced by environmentalists.

Whole Catholic News story here.

*For explanation of headline see blogpost "How Dare You Insult Chlorophyll-Kind!"

Update: The news was too good to be true. It's from 2003. Different pope.

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  1. I agree with the Pope. That does it for this decade. 😉

  2. Roman Catholic Church: Defender of Science.

  3. Wait–I don’t get the update. Does that mean the report proved to be untrue, or did it happen 5 years ago and nobody noticed?

  4. I can’t wait until my first communion wafer made from genetically modified wheat. What a cost savings on my tithe!

  5. Brian24: Good question. But it seems the folks over at Cathholic News got confused somehow.

  6. I agree with the Pope. That does it for this decade.

    That about sums it up for me, too.

  7. It deserves to be said that, even within the Catholic Church, the Pope has no teaching authority in this area, as it doesn’t involve faith or morals.

    I do happen to agree with him, but I don’t like it when he makes a fuss over something he has zero authority to teach on (like the death penalty).

  8. What’s a ‘pope’?

  9. I do happen to agree with him, but I don’t like it when he makes a fuss over something he has zero authority to teach on (like the death penalty).

    The Death Penalty has nothing to do with morals?

  10. Our three main weapons are….

  11. WOW! First they accept the possibility of space aliens and now this. Are they going to come out in favor of allowing priests to get married next?

  12. “Are they going to come out in favor of allowing priests to get married next?”

    PIRS-Maybe to young boys…

  13. Ha Ha, did anyone notice the “Vatican Gifts” ad banner above this post? Some computer algorithim just picked up on the “Vatican” in the title and tailored the ads to “Vaticangifts.com” thinking that they hit a pious Catholic discussion group or something…Glad to know there are still many things that computers can’t pick up on (I guess Star Trek NG was right)

  14. It deserves to be said that, even within the Catholic Church, the Pope has no teaching authority in this area, as it doesn’t involve faith or morals.

    The laity might be wondering if it is moral to tinker with DNA (God’s handwriting).

  15. “I do happen to agree with him, but I don’t like it when he makes a fuss over something he has zero authority to teach on (like the death penalty).”

    Yeeeap. That’s how the right-wing cafeteria Catholics like their religion, all right.

  16. “…Glad to know there are still many things that computers can’t pick up on (I guess Star Trek NG was right)”

    We are still a LONG way from Commander Data. “Artificial intelligence” is very primitive but it does exist. Probably too expensive for something like Google ads though.

    Speaking of religion and AI have you ever been to igod?

    http://www.titane.ca/concordia/dfar251/igod/main.html


  17. It deserves to be said that, even within the Catholic Church, the Pope has no teaching authority in this area, as it doesn’t involve faith or morals.

    I do happen to agree with him, but I don’t like it when he makes a fuss over something he has zero authority to teach on (like the death penalty).

    You have no idea what you’re talking about, do you?

    Listen here, buddy, I’m a Catholic. The Pope has absolute authority on these kinds of issues. If the death penalty has nothing to do with morals, then neither does abortion, murder, theft, lying, swearing, or any other sin. Again, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about so I won’t argue with the ignorant.

  18. Thats why I like Christians, at least they care about preserving human life a lot. I can’t say that about the Gaia worshipers…

  19. so dickhead2 is now in favor of these and believes in UFOs. way to go, ‘head.

  20. The Death Penalty has nothing to do with morals?

    Well, actually, the Pope said that the death penalty was not immoral per se, but that it was not necessary to use it anymore, which is a matter of economic and sociological analysis, not faith or morals.

    He couldn’t really say it was absolutely immoral, given the fact that that would contradict gigantic swaths of the Bible, not to mention two milennia of Catholic teaching (and unfortunately, practice) on the matter.

  21. The Pope has absolute authority on these kinds of issues.

    Given the history of (mostly) medieval Popes saying stark-raving nuts things about astronomy, biology, economics, etc, I really don’t think you want that.

  22. …stark-raving nuts things about astronomy, biology, economics, etc, that had a tangential relationship to faith or morals

  23. First they accept the possibility of space aliens and now this. Are they going to come out in favor of allowing priests to get married next?

    The alien thing was the Vatican astronomer, who really doesn’t have any authority. The married priest thing can be changed in five minutes if the Pope wants to do it — there were married priests in the early Church, and there are still married priests in the Eastern Catholic Church. Also, exceptions can be made by the Pope to allow the ordination of a married Protestant minister or Anglican priest who converts to Catholicism and brings his congregation with him, but those cases are rare.

  24. Has the fabric of time become unstuck? Seriously, the fact that modern people care what some ancient poofster thinks about GM crops is ever so laughable. Yeah, screw the scientists and their learnin’; we got us an old guy and a bible. Oh, gosh I need to start taking mescaline or something, maybe then I’ll fit in with society better.

  25. “The Pope has absolute authority on these kinds of issues.

    Given the history of (mostly) medieval Popes saying stark-raving nuts things about astronomy, biology, economics, etc, I really don’t think you want that”

    It’s called infallibility.

  26. LeT:

    surprising but sadly true.

  27. It deserves to be said that, even within the Catholic Church, the Pope has no teaching authority in this area, as it doesn’t involve faith or morals.

    When the pope makes a statement about the morality of genetic modification of plant DNA, how can it not “involve . . . morals”?

  28. I think the Pope has a moral obligation to advice the Catholic flock on the issue of genetically modified foods. There has been a lot of misinformation about agricultural biotechnology. I, personally, disagree with the argument that genetically modified foods hold the key to food sustainability. I am very sure that biotech corporations such as Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and BASF agree with me. It needs to be said, however, that genetically modified foods can play and important role in alleviating hunger and malnutrition just the same way organic foods can do. Blogger James Njoroge has written a very interesting article on this issue. The article can be found at this link. In trying to find a permanent solution to the current food crisis, we should put every option on the table. Modern crop genetic engineering is proving itself in enhancing food security in the world. Look at the increasing number of farmers cultivating genetically modified crops. They are many and are spread all over the world: the U.S., South Africa, India, Argentina, Canada and elsewhere.

    The Pope is right to advise his followers that there is a lot to gain from genetically modified foods.

  29. It’s called infallibility.

    The infallibility doctrine is subject to some pretty stringent restrictions, the operative one here being that the pope has to be intending to teach the whole Church about a topic directly concerning faith or morals. When Popes in the 11th century said that charging interest on a loan was theft, for instance, they were not speaking infallibly, because that pronouncement only had an indirect relation to morals.

    Seamus,

    Well, I’d have to see the actual statement to know whether he directly addressed it as the morality of GM crops, or merely opined that GM crops could save lives or something like that. The former may fall under the definition, the latter definitely doesn’t, since it only indirectly pertains to morals.

  30. hay giddy (dickhead3???) howz you feel about ufos now? (stifles giggles)

    and if you’re dumb enough to follow him, knock yourself out. just don’t expect us to 1) respect you (looks at dickhead2) or 2) take you seriously after this post.

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