Zambia ? Vatican: Shedding light on the GMO debate

In an attempt to understand better the scientific and ethical aspects of the GMO debate, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP) held an international seminar (10-11 November 2003) on the theme ?GMO: Threat or Hope?”. Stressing that the seminar was not meant to offer final conclusions, the Vatican maintained that there are no easy solutions and that it may take a long time to arrive at a firm policy on the issue. Fr. Roland Lesseps S.J. read a paper, co-authored with Fr. Peter Henriot S.J., on the ethical dimensions of the use of GMOs in the light of the Church?s Social Teaching and the broader theological framework of creation. Roland Lesseps and Peter Henriot are respectively Senior scientist at the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre and Director of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, Lusaka, Zambia. Speaking as practitioners rather than as academics, their perspective was rooted in their involvement in the daily lives of small-scale farmers and their analysis of agricultural and food security issues. Fr. Lesseps noted that fewer voices were raised at the seminar against the use of GMOs, and that those in favour may well win the debate. All the more reason, he said, to continue the debate regarding the ethical, social and theological implications of using GMOs among small farmers in less developed countries. This is an invitation for those who are interested to be involved despite ever-increasing responsibilities. The Secretariat in Rome would like to facilitate and promote a network on Ecology that will treat this issue as one of its sub-themes. We urge all those interested to contact Costanza Pagnini at . [HL40201] Fr Roland Lesseps S.J.: . The full text of the paper can be found at: http://users.online.be/~sj.eur.news/doc2/GMOs2003.doc