Catholic social teaching is often seen as a jewel in the crown of our faith. If placed at the heart of important areas of human activity, such as education and business, it can improve society greatly. In 2016, an excellent document was published seeking to promote and develop this ethical approach for agriculture and farming.
A human enterprise
Agriculture is very much a human enterprise. It employs over 1.3 billion people throughout the world and provides the basics of life — food and clothing — for all.
The International Catholic Rural Association (ICRA) has been working in collaboration with the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and many other organisations globally to investigate issues of human dignity and the common good, the guiding criteria of Catholic social teaching, in the contemporary farming and food system.
Key questions were addressed. How can hunger in the human family be overcome? How can we ensure a safe, affordable, and sustainable food supply? How can we ensure that farmworkers and owners of small farms live and work with dignity? How can land, water, and other elements of God’s creation be preserved, protected, and used well in the service of the common good?
Good leadership is key and the fruit of this collaborative working is the 2016 document Vocation of the Agricultural Leader.
The aim and purpose of the document is to serve as a spiritual guide for agricultural leaders in affirming the dignity of farm workers. It seeks to encourage their commitment to the common good, including the care of the earth, and to foster an understanding of their work as more than simply a necessary task or business undertaking; rather, that their work is a vocation, a form of life through which God can be known, served, and glorified.
You can download Vocation of the Agricultural Leader here: