For over 90 years, Catholic Rural Life has made the case that farming is a unique and special vocation, essential to the well-being of all others, but we also appreciate it when other people help us spread this message.
Especially when that other person is the pope.
Pope Francis made his remarks on the importance of farming during a papal audience with members of Italy’s National Federation of Farmers on Jan. 31 at Clementine Hall of the Papal Palace. Catholic News Agency reports:
The Holy Father said that without farming, there is no humanity, and without good food, there is no life for “the men and women of every continent.”
He went on to describe farming as a true vocation which merits deserves to be recognized and valued, and warned against measures which penalize this “valuable activity” and dissuade new generations from taking an interest in this profession.
The Pope did note, however, that statistics indicate a growth in the number of students enrolling in agricultural studies.
Pope Francis went on to speak of two “critical areas” of reflection with regard to the farming profession: first, that of poverty and hunger which is still of interest to “a vast part of humanity.”
Noting how the Second Vatican Council “recalled the universal destination of the goods of the earth” (cfr Cost. past. Gaudium et spes, 69), Pope Francis said, “in reality the dominant economic system excludes much of their correct use.”
“The absolutizing of market rules, a throwaway culture” and food wastefulness of “unacceptable proportions, together with other factors, cause misery and suffering for many families,” he said.
In order to consider the second “critical area” of reflection on the farming profession, the Pope continued, it is important to remember “man’s call, not only to till the earth, but also to care for it.” (Gen. 2:15).
“Every farmer knows well how it becomes more difficult to till the land at a time of accelerated climate change”.
Pope Francis stressed the importance of acting swiftly to care for creation, calling on nations to collaborate with one another in this goal.
He then then invited those present in the audience to “rediscover love for the earth as ‘mother’ – as Saint Francis would say – from which we have taken and to which we are called to constantly return.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. But unfortunately, the farmers of today are a forgotten people, and the very real issues and challenges they face are not considered seriously enough by policymakers and consumers. Hopefully Pope Francis’s remarks will help contribute to a new-found appreciation for the unique and irreplaceable vocation that is farming.