Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy considers agricultural issues as reflected in the U.S. Bishop’s For I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food.
A new month returns us to our consideration of the US Bishops’ consideration of agricultural issues in For I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food. Let us join the bishops as they speak of the structure used in the document.
“ In this document, we outline some “signs of the times,” lift up principles from Catholic social teaching, and suggest elements of an “agenda for action.” We also highlight the global dimensions of agriculture today and how they contribute to the growing gap between rich and poor at home and abroad. But more than anything else, we seek to place the life and dignity of the human person at the center of the discussions and decisions on agriculture.”
Continuing, the bishops define the audience for this document. They highlight three groups to whom they address their remarks as they write: “First, we recognize and encourage those who carry out and contribute to the work of agriculture in the United States and abroad: farmers and farmworkers, leaders of rural communities, and those who serve them in our Church. When we refer to farmers and farmworkers, our concern also extends to those who produce our food and fiber, to ranchers, and to other agricultural workers
Second, we offer elements of a moral framework for those involved in agricultural policy: political leaders, experts, advocates, and activists.
Third, we encourage members of the broader Catholic community to give greater attention and priority to issues of food and agriculture and their connections to our faith.
The emphasis given by the bold print is mine. It helps us to know that we, as a community, are specifically included in the focus groups described by the bishops. Our study of their ideas will enrich our service among the People of God. This is not just for those who work in farming communities, but for all of us who help to educate others. We teach by our interest and concern that agricultural issues are not just for a specialized part of society, but should be the concern of us all.