Leaked cables confirm Pope’s distance from GMO debate and limited stance on bioethics

Dec. 20, 2010 UPDATE: Newly Leaked Cable: Pope ‘quietly supportive’ of GMOs

By Rady Ananda

A leaked June 2009 cable from the US Vatican Embassy confirms the Pontiff’s refusal to take a stance on genetically modified foods. The Pope’s refusal to reject GM foods creates a vacuum in light of his condemnation of human genetic manipulation and his promotion of environmental stewardship.

Last month, at least one news source falsely reported that the Pope approves genetically modified foods. Vatican officials immediately denied such claims, but did admit there is debate within the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.  The cable confirms:

“The Vatican has not taken a formal position on genetically modified (GM) crops — some Church leaders oppose them because GM technology is mostly in the hands of multinational corporations, while others support their use as an element in a larger strategy to address world hunger.”

The cable, released by WikiLeaks, also confirms the Pope’s view that world hunger is more about failings in the distribution infrastructure and as a result of commodity food trading that drove up food prices:

“In his World Food Day message in October 2008, the Pope noted that the world can produce enough food to meet increasing needs, but said factors like speculation in foodstuffs, corrupt public officials, and growing investments in weapons prevented food from reaching the hungry.”

In this Democracy Now interview, Frederick Kaufman, a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine, detailed how a speculative food bubble increased the number of those going hungry by 250 million. Wall Street investors like Goldman Sachs, AIG, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and JPMorgan Chase bought “futures” on commodities, refusing to sell them. This created a false shortage, causing prices to skyrocket.

Another leaked cable discusses a Papal visit to Spain in July 2009 when Pope Benedict XVI condemned genetic research. Embassy official Peter Martin described the speech this way:

“Benedict did not shy away from comments on same-sex marriage, abortion, and genetic research, but the comments were not so much finger-wagging at the Spanish government, as a message aimed at the Western world in general.”

In a June 2008 Doctrinal Instruction concerning bioethics, Pope Benedict XVI clarifies the Catholic Church’s opposition to genetic engineering on the grounds of a “eugenics mentality.” His argument about protecting the dignity of human life can be equally extended to all life. Indeed, in the June 2009 leaked cable, the Pope’s concern for the environment is well noted:

“The Pope speaks frequently about the importance of caring for God’s creation…. The Holy See is an active observer at the UN Environment Program, Food and Agriculture Organization and other international for a.… The Pope has even joined with other religious leaders … to issue moral appeals to their faithful on humanity’s responsibility to be good stewards of nature. The Vatican’s environmental message is consistent: nature is a gift from God, so human beings have a responsibility to care for and not to abuse it.”

If the integrity of the human person needs to be maintained, and if humans should care for the environment, shouldn’t the integrity of all life forms be maintained?

While recognizing advances in biomedical science, the 2008 Doctrinal Instruction fails to consider the burgeoning agriceutical industry, which amounts to mass drugging the population thru a genetically modified food supply. This scheme falls squarely outside Papal and Hippocratic protectionism toward humans.

Though the Church condemns genetic manipulation only as far as humans go, Papal arguments on the sanctity of natural life can easily be applied to genetically engineered foods, as well. It’s not that far of a stretch to oppose GM foods after opposing other forms of genetic manipulation.

15 responses to “Leaked cables confirm Pope’s distance from GMO debate and limited stance on bioethics

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Leaked cables confirm Pope’s distance from GMO debate and limited stance on bioethics | Food Freedom -- Topsy.com

  2. The bible does not give souls to animals, the very thing which makes all us crappy humans so special in their eyes, (at least not in the version that our pastors tought) and in this ideology I vehemently disagree with the church. Animals and plants have been given to manking by the creator to use as they see fit. What a mistake to make! Thinking that GMO’s are a longterm strategy to address the world’s hunger issues just confirms people’s ignorance on this, and so many other topics.

    • yes, it’s interesting that humans separate themselves from nature — and the Bible supports the notion of “dominion over all” — a sentiment which has led to the eco-destruction we see today.

      Anyone who’s ever loved an animal knows it is sentient… and if heaven has no animals because animals have no soul, then it would be hell to be there.

  3. Pingback: Leaked Cable: Hike food prices to boost GM crop approval in Europe : Infowars Ireland

  4. In a debate about the Pope’s position on genetic engineering, a scientist from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences referred to my article as being accurate on the topic:

    He elucidated something new for me:

    “Fact is, the Pontifical Academy has existed in one form or another since about ca. 600, as the very first academy of world scholars. It has always been independent of the Vatican, and likely always will.”

  5. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Food Freedom | Decentralize, Grow Your Own, Buy Local.

  6. Pingback: Leaked Cable: Hike food prices to boost GM crop approval in Europe « Margot B. News

  7. Pingback: Leaked Cable: Hike food prices to boost GM crop approval in Europe | COTO Report



  10. Pingback: Wikileaks and Food Imperialism « Volatility

  11. This is a No-Brainer. Non-GMO corn is designed for yield, with no compromise for standability or drydown. Products are always carefully chosen to match trait rotation systems, IRM refuge areas, and premium markets. Thanks for your blog! Let the world know!

  12. Hi there! I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for the great info you have got here on this post. I can be coming again to your weblog for extra soon.

  13. Bitcoin has experienced incredible increases during the last few years and there are now some who are claiming that the success is soon to end and the currency plummet. Some of us still support the concept of a user owned currency system outside of the control of the banks. We do not accept that Bitcoin is finished. We shall be staying with Bitcoin and I am quite certain that Bitcoin will continue to rise more steeply than previously. Banks are getting concerned about the success of Bitcoin. This concern is fuelled by the reality that bitcoin does not require excessive. crypto-currency charges are a fraction of the transaction compared to the fees that conventional banks charge. Using a manual platform similar to Bitcoin Surfing may offer you the opportunity to find what new deals that are out there related to bitcoin. Mining Bitcoin is a good way to begin building up a Bitcoin fund. Create a free crypto-currency account at Coinbase and you will be given $10 worth of Bitcoin for nothing to get you started. There are lots of offers to get you working with crypto currency and Bitcoin Surfing is the best way to begin. Best of all it won’t cost you anything.

  14. I am also commenting to let you understand of the useful experience our daughter obtained browsing yuor web blog. She figured out a good number of pieces, which included how it is like to possess a very effective coaching mood to get men and women just learn about a variety of complex things. You really did more than our expected results. Thanks for rendering those useful, trustworthy, edifying and fun tips on that topic to Mary.

What do YOU think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s