The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences just concluded a study week with a focus on agricultural biotechnology as a way to feed the hungry in developing countries. In Sept. 2004 the Academy co-sponsored a conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University titled: “Feeding a Hungry World: the Moral Imperative of Biotechnology.”
After the 2004 conference, many were concerned with the direction the Vatican seemed to be taking on the biotechnology issue, including Br. David Andrews, then director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference and Jesuits working in the developing country of Zambia, Ronald Lessups and Peter Henriot, who operate a social justice and agricultural development program there. They pointed out that the policy being promoted by the Pontifical Academy was contrary to strong statements from the South African bishops, bishops of the Philippines, from Brazil, and a number of other places about the moral concerns associated with agricultural biotechnology.