The Pontifical Academy of Sciences
Greetings of Peace!
I live on an island in the middle of the Philippines, where the world's densest forest flourishes, the Philippines' cleanest inland body of water flows and the majestic Mt. Guiting-guiting dwells.
We still enjoy the bounties of nature given by God Almighty-naturally providing us food to live. However, the food that nature gives us reflects the Good and Greatness of the Creator. His love emanates from the very crops that we grow through the nutrients from nature itself.
Our environment is generally naturally intact, because of the desire of the island-people to live in harmony with nature.
In connection, I have heard about the Academy's Study Week on Genetically Modified Organisms. It seems very alarming that such involvement of our very Mother the Church may lead to the distortion of the very natural processes of creation.
It is true that by the intelligence of the mind given by the Almighty shall be utilized for the good of mankind: to solve the so-called poverty problem.
Permit me to opine on these words.
Hands of Unscrupulous People:
On our island, we have vast rice lands which produce more than what we want. The problem, however, is the price. The rice dealers when asked on the high price, the general answer is: 'Because there is rice crisis according to the media and fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides are expensive."
Why not focus on technology which will diminish the use of herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticide which distort and destroy the natural processes of food production and soil nutrients? Because these unscrupulous peoples sell their chemicals to poor people and the poor people cannot afford? Or these unscrupulous people are these scientists who wanted to sell their technology to the Church herself and the Church shall sacrifice its adherence to the Integrity of Creation?
Why not focus on organic agriculture. I still dream of a Garden of Eden where everything is in harmony with the whole Creation and the Creator himself.
Focus on Profit:
Hoarding is one of the major issues here. When the price of food is cheap, food products are kept for future's high price. GMO Companies produce the research, the sample of the research, and the product of the research, for how much?
Moral upliftment on the just and right economics and trade for the well-being of all people. A more just system of distribution is of course the answer: the just and fair distribution of every country's wealth/food, not always for export (for the so-called economic boom of a certain nation) for the benefit of some other countries. Food secured countries should share justly their abundance to famine affected communities. If one wants to pursue GMOs on can freely do so, but without hiding that it's a way to make more profits. More easily produced organisms/ food means more profit. Who can produce more GMOs? The people who have the money and technology-the people who can manipulate the production of food in the whole world?
These are my personal opinions.
However, scientifically, we are called organisms, part of the larger organism we call Earth. We are not modified. Is it not moral to say that we should eat the food produced through our labor in sweat and in blood?
What is Natural Law, anyway? Science is not artificial, and primarily must seek the Truth, the truth that everything conforms to everything.
To discover that some natural processes would solve these man-made problems: the problem of Greed, of War, of Land Grabbing, of Oil take-over.
Shall Vatican involve and participate herself to the grand formation of a New World Order? - The One-government Earth, to manipulate Creation? Although I may commit a fallacy of generalization and jumping into a conclusion, exaggeration, forgive me.
I am an organism, I am not manipulated. My parents participated in God's masterpiece through pro-creation.
I am therefore rightful to be nourished by organisms which are not manipulated and modified, or else I shall become (or part of me) modified.
Your Excellency, allowing GMOs is tantamount to say the Vatican opens the fiery gates of Cloning.
Let us be reminded of the words of John Paul the Great during the last Jubilee on November 12, 2000 to more than 50,000 Italian farmers:
"... resist the temptation of high productivity and profit that work to the detriment of the respect of nature... when (farmers) forget this basic principle and become tyrants of the earth rather than its custodians... sooner or later the earth rebels.”
Further, the great Pope said:
"We must take into account the nature of each being and of its mutual connection in an ordered system which is precisely the 'cosmos.” (The Social Concern of the Church, #34, 1987)
In another statement by the great Pope during the World Day of Peace in 1990, he said:
"..certain elements of today's ecological crisis reveal its moral character. First among these is the indiscriminate application of advances in science and technology…The application of these discoveries in the fields of industry and agriculture have produced harmful long-term effects.”
“This has led to the painful realization that we cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention both to the consequences of such interference in other areas and to the well-being of future generations... We can only look with deep concern at the enormous possibilities of biological research. We are not yet in a position to assess the biological disturbance that could result from indiscriminate genetic manipulation and from the unscrupulous development of new forms of plant and animal life, to say nothing of unacceptable experimentation regarding the origins of human life itself. It is evident that in any area as delicate as this, indifference to fundamental ethical norms, or their rejection, would lead humankind to the very threshold of self-destruction."
The Great Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas once wrote:
"God brought things into being in order that the divine goodness might be communicated to creatures…The whole universe together participates in divine goodness more perfectly, and represents it better, than any single creature whatever." (Summa Theologiae Part I, Question 47, Art 1)
The Sacred Scriptures, in the Book of Genesis, further says:
"God saw that it was good…was very good."
Does it mean that promoting GMOs, the Holy Mother the Church may proclaim statements in the superlative sense higher than the words of Yahweh: We saw GMO it was excellent, amazingly excellent!?
Let me share also the recommendations of Fr. Roland Lesseps SJ and Fr. Peter Henriot SJ, in which I share and agree with some of my aforesaid opinions:
1. Theological and ethical concerns must be primary in any discussion promoted by church groups.
2. Genetic modification does not meet the tests of the social teaching of the church for genuine integral development that respects human rights and the order of creation.
3. The church has the responsibility to educate its members to the religious values essential in evaluating use of GMOs in agriculture.
4. Political pressures should be brought by Justice and Peace groups across the world to promote non-GMO approaches to meeting problems of hunger.
Your Excellency, again, let me strongly say: I am an organism. I am not manipulated, or else if I am, I would commit a blasphemy by saying, that I was modified by my parents in cooperation with God's unscrupulous manipulation of mankind.
What is important for me is my cooperation in the continuous processes of nature and development in harmony with the very Creation God created out of Love.
Your Excellency, the sole solution for Famine is LOVE - which emanates from justice and peace.
In closing, FAMINE is the absence of a sense of a harmonious family in the whole world living in Love, Justice and Peace. The FAMily of nations are being conquered by a powerful few: they will say, This FAMily shall be MINE.
It is selfishness. It is to rule the world. To conquer the world through war. The solution is the genuine AGAPE.
To put into action the EGALITARIAN CHALLENGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. Peace be with us all.