Great Jubilee News

Use of Goods is Another Point of Ethical Concern

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 7, 2000 ( The struggle against world hunger and the universal destiny of goods will be points of focus for this weekend's Jubilee of agriculture.

The Vatican committee organizing this event -- which concerns more than half the world's population that lives off the land's resources -- today unveiled a list of ethical considerations facing the agricultural world.

A document presented to the press noted that, with the passing of collectivism, "it is necessary not to lose sight of the principle of the universal destiny of goods."

This principle is also valid for "new forms of property" such as economic power, capital, organizational capacity, knowledge and technologies, according to the document.

"Property is not an end in itself; its object is oriented to the personal and social fulfillment of man," it clarifies.

Eight thousand people are expected to attend the agricultural Jubilee, which begins with a day of reflection Saturday in Paul VI Hall. A Mass with John Paul II is scheduled for Sunday.

Among those attending the Mass will be directors of three U.N. agencies: the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); International Fund for Agricultural Development; and World Food Program.

Jacques Diouf, FAO director-general, will give the opening address and greetings to the Pope.

During the press conference, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, Vatican permanent representative at the FAO, said that the participation of the three U.N. organizations in this Jubilee reflects "the worldwide, universal dimension of the struggle against hunger, an eminently Jubilee cause open to all, independently of one's creed or ideology."

Bishop Fernando Charrier, president of the Jubilee Committee of the Agricultural World, added that if "the land is used properly, it
is capable of feeding and sheltering at least 12 billion people" -- a fact, he said, that should ease the fears of some ideological groups regarding the hypothetical dangers of the demographic "boom."

In regard to the ethical implications of genetically modified foods, Bishop Charrier explained that "it must be the scientists who say if the transgenic foods violate nature or if they can be a help to man. In this case, the Church awaits the decision of science." In the meantime, his recommendation was clear: "Prudence!"