GMOs and environmental destruction - Pope Francis urges humanity to respect nature

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(NaturalNews) "Isn't humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?"

That was a question asked recently by Pope Francis, as part of his continuous plea with the world to "respect" our environment.

It's not a bad message, it is just incomplete when you consider that the vast majority of the world is fed by GMOs, which have nothing in common with "respecting" our environment.

In July, the pontiff was on his environmental message again, branding the destruction of the rainforests in South America -- the pope's home country is Argentina -- as well as other forms of environmental exploitation as a sin of modern times.

As reported by Reuters, the pontiff, in an address at the University of Molise, an agricultural and industrial region in southern Italy, said that the earth should be permitted to give her fruits without being exploited.

Respect nature, sure, but how about speaking out against GMOs?

"This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation," he told students, who were also joined by struggling farmers and laid-off workers, in a university hall.

"When I look at America, also my own homeland (South America), so many forests, all cut, that have become land... that can longer give life. This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to... give us what she has within her," the Argentine pope said in unprepared remarks, according to Reuters.

Currently, Francis, who derived his name from Francis of Assisi, the 13th century saint who is viewed as the patron of animals and the environment, is writing an encyclical on Mankind's relationship with nature. And since his election to lead the Catholic Church's 1.2 billion adherents in March 2013, Francis has made a number of appeals to defend the environment.

But the Holy See has been silent on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in crops and food production, despite the well-documented damage such crops are doing to the world's ever-shrinking farm acreage -- though other Catholic leaders and laymen have spoken up.

In August 2013, several Roman Catholic priests and Catholic laymen sought to convince some in the Church hierarchy to publicly denounce genetically modified organisms, even as they prepared to publicly honor a trio of scientists largely responsible for GMO development.

In an open letter to Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who prepared to honor the three scientists in Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 16-18, Brother David Andrews, a senior representative of Food & Water Watch and the Committee on World Food Security, among other groups, asked the Church to reconsider.

'New form of slavery'

In part, the letter said:

As you know, the United States government and agriculture giant Monsanto have been seeking the support of the Holy See for genetic modification of food for years.

During my last visit to the U.S. Ambassador Miguel Diaz, just before he resigned, Diaz sung to me the praises of Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, because he supported GMOs. I wonder what you will say, particularly given your leadership of the synod on Africa and the strong advocacy that Monsanto and the U.S. government have for transforming African agriculture through the G-8's New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.

Andrews said the U.S. has "repeatedly" pushed the Holy See to endorse GMO seeds "as a moral obligation," but that the "policy of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has been to resist officially adopting GMOs."

"While the Academy of Sciences has recurrently hosted one-sided conferences on GMOs in 2004 and 2008, the Holy See formerly has not done so. Cardinal Renato Martino, your predecessor at the justice and peace office, came close but backed off, and you yourself have been quite careful," Andrews wrote.

In January 2012, Turkson said GMOs were a "new form of slavery," and he has spoken out about their danger to the environment and humans.


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