Vatican Looking Closer at Genetically Modified Organisms

Participates in California Conference

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 4, 2003 ( With an eye toward addressing world hunger, the Vatican has asked for additional information on genetically modified organisms.

Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, made that announcement following the Ministerial Conference on Biotechnology, which was held in Sacramento, California, from June 23-25.

“The Holy See realizes the urgent need to provide food security to all people, especially those who suffer from poverty, hunger and malnutrition,” the archbishop said when addressing the conference to which ZENIT had access.

“The presence of a delegation at the meeting provided the Holy See with the opportunity to observe, to listen to the testimony of experts, and to learn about the various programs and projects involving the use of genetically modified organisms,” or GMOs, he explained.

“The Holy See is well aware of the existence of plants that produce an abundance of food,” the archbishop said. “Feeding the hungry is essential. Finding ways to accomplish this is an imperative. At the same time, the Holy See continues to study the widest use of GMOs.”

“Information leads to participation,” he added. “Participation brings empowerment. The use of GMOs needs to be openly discussed so that informed decisions can be made by those who might receive and use these products. This will enable those people to continue on the way toward sustainable development.”

The Sacramento meeting attracted agriculture officials, scientists and health-care experts from about 100 countries.

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