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Biotechnology must be ethical, Cardinal Peter Turkson says

Cardinal Turkson (CNS)

Biotechnology can be supported only when it’s married with ethics, compassion, morality and prudence, Cardinal Turkson has said.

The cardinal,who is president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, was invited to Des Moines for the World Food Prize along with 900 people from 60 different countries including scientists, researchers, policymakers and students.

The cardinal expressed concern about several issues related to agriculture research and production to feed the world’s hungry. He talked about the importance of dialogue and conversation when there are different opinions saying that: “The church promotes listening, dialogue, patience, respect for the other, sincerity and even willingness to review one’s own opinion”.

Turkson said that biotechnological research must be done with ethics and a clear long-term vision and a respect for human dignity. He added that it should always strive for the common good without “denying the most impoverished segments of the population access to the technology”.

He talked about Church’s vision on the role of technology applied to human life, saying: “In Catholic thought, ‘nature’ is neither sacred nor divine, neither to be feared or to be revered and left untouched”, he explained.

He said that nature “is a gift offered by the Creator to the human community to be entrusted to the intelligence and moral responsibility of men and women. Therefore it is legitimate for humans with the correct attitude to intervene in nature and make modifications”. But he stressed: “it is hazardous – and ultimately absurd, indeed sinful – to employ biotechnology without the guidance of deeply responsible ethics”.