Emphasizing a Just Gospel, Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy continues to offer a reflection on the U.S. Bishop’s Document on Hunger re: Stewardship of Creation.
We have now looked at some of the issues of human dignity, economy and trade in regard to agriculture. Finally the bishops turn to the field of stewardship in regard to creation. They say: “Protecting God’s creation must be a central goal of agricultural policies.
Government resources should be targeted to farms and ranches that practice environmentally sound agriculture. We urge farmers to minimize their use of pesticides and other chemicals and, where they are used, to take strong measures to protect themselves, agricultural workers, and their families from exposure.
Catholic teaching about the stewardship of creation leads us to question certain farming practices, such as the operation of massive confined animal feeding operations. We believe that these operations should be carefully regulated and monitored so that environmental risks are minimized and animals are treated as creatures of God.
Another important concern is the practice of focusing large acreages on one crop or a few strains of a crop. Unless managed properly, this limited approach to production can lead to depletion of the soil and destruction of fertile lands.”
Thus, stewardship involves integrity in the treatment of the worker, the creature, the soil and the harvest that is produced.
The bishops close their reflections as follows: “Agriculture is not just another economic sector. It is about food and hunger, the way we treat those who grow and harvest our food and fiber, and what kind of nation and world we are shaping.
We hope these reflections will contribute to a broader dialogue about the moral dimensions of agriculture and to renewed efforts to advance the dignity of farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers.” May we be part of this broader consideration of agricultural issues.