VATICAN CITY (CNS): Modern economies must pay more attention to farmers and the entire agricultural sector, not out of some nostalgic yearning for a simpler time, but out of recognition that farms feed the world and offer dignified work to millions of people, Pope Benedict XVI said.
“I believe now is the time to re-evaluate agriculture, not in a nostalgic way, but as an indispensable resource for the future,” the Pope said on November 14 during his midday Angelus address.
Thanksgiving holidays in many countries at the end of the harvest season were an appropriate time for everyone to reflect on the importance of agriculture and on the ways that many modern economies ignored the sector or actually inflicted harm on it through trade policies or through the promotion of industries that destroyed farm land, he said.
With the current global economic crisis, the Pope said, the temptation of the richest countries was to band together to improve their own situations, often in a way that harmed the world’s poorest countries and used up “the natural resources of the earth, entrusted by God the creator to human beings to cultivate and safeguard”.
The world urgently needed to forge “a new balance among agriculture, industry and services so that development is sustainable, no one lacks bread and work, and so that the air, water and other primary resources are preserved as universal goods” belonging to all people, he said.
The response of all people of good will, the Pope said, must be “to educate everyone to a wiser and more responsible style of consumption and to promote personal responsibility, together with the social dimension of rural activities based on perennial values such as welcome, solidarity and sharing toil and labour”.
Meanwhile, in Toowoomba, Queensland, Bishop William Morris joined with Anglican and Uniting Church leaders in issuing a joint statement calling on the Queensland Government to maintain a strong level of protection for prime agricultural land.
There have been concerns in that region about mining interests taking over farm land.
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