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Pope Francis Talks About Agriculture

Pope FrancisPope Francis put agriculture in focus this weekend when he met with a group of managers from the National Confederation of Direct Cultivators. His comments reflected on two main areas, poverty and hunger and protection of the environment. BTW. I love this photo of him from the L’Osservatore Romano.

Here are a few excerpts from his comments

“There is no humanity without the cultivation of the land; there is no good life without the food it produces for the men and women of every continent. Agriculture thus demonstrates its central role”, said Pope Francis this morning, as he received in audience two hundred managers from the National Confederation of Direct Cultivators in the Clementine Hall on the seventh anniversary of its foundation.

The name “direct cultivators”, explained the Pontiff, refers to cultivation, “a typically human and fundamental activity. In agricultural work there is, indeed, acceptance of the precious gift of the land that comes from God, but there is also its development through the equally valuable work of men and women, called to respond boldly and creatively to the mandate forever entrusted to mankind, the cultivation and stewardship of the land”.

This task, which requires time and energy, constitutes “a true vocation. It deserves to be recognised and suitably valued as such, also in concrete political and economic decisions. This means eliminating the obstacles that penalise such a valuable activity and that often make it appear unattractive to new generations, even though statistics show an increase in the number of students in schools and institutes of agriculture, which leads us to foresee and increase in the numbers of those employed in the agricultural sector. At the same time, it is necessary to pay due attention to the removal of land from agricultural use, to make it available for apparently more lucrative purposes”.

Regarding poverty and hunger he said, “Vatican Council II reiterated the common destination of earthly goods, but in reality the dominant economic system excludes many people from their correct use. The absolutism of the rules of the market and a throwaway culture in which waste of food has reached unacceptable proportions, along with other factors, have caused poverty and suffering for many families. Therefore, the system of production and distribution of food needs to be fundamentally re-evaluated. As our grandparents taught us, you do not play with food! Bread forms part of the sacredness of human life, and must not therefore be treated as a mere commodity”.

Then on the subject of the environment he refers to the Bible and the book of Genesis where man is called not only to cultivate the land, but also to take care of it. He also mentioned climate change, which he has done before by saying, “every agriculturalist is well aware of how difficult it has become to cultivate the land in a time of accelerated climate change and increasingly widespread extreme meteorological events. How can we continue to produce good food for the lives of all when climate stability is at risk, when the air, water and the earth itself lose their purity as a result of pollution?”

I’m not sure what information Pope Francis looks at when it comes to climate change but from the words I’ve seen him use he does seem to have a real concern for it and what it means to being able to feed everyone, including the poor. I personally think we have plenty of food to feed the world but have not come up with a system to distribute that food to the people who need it. There are too many political, criminal and other factors in the way right now.

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