April 5, 2019

Letters to the Editor

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No letters were printed this week; here is the letter from two weeks ago:

Author falls short in tomato example in value of fasting and self-denial

In her Faith Alive! article, “Fasting shows how a choice can have wide‑ranging effects,” in the March 8 issue of The Criterion, author Stephanie Clary makes several important points about the value of fasting and self-denial.

However, I feel her example that “buying a tomato” can “hinder the will of God” unless the tomato is “local, organic, and fair-trade” is badly misinformed.

I do not recall reading a moral objection to the use of pesticides or genetically-modified organisms in the Cathechism of the Catholic Church, so I question the author’s presumption about the will of God in this instance.

While there are many considerations when evaluating the value of organic farming practices, I will give just one for brevity: long-term data from the United States Department of Agriculture have consistently shown conventional farming to be significantly higher yielding than organic farming.

This creates a two-fold effect: 1) more crop is produced per area, increasing supply and decreasing cost of food, to which the poor are particularly sensitive; and 2) less new area needs to be cultivated as farmland to meet demand, preserving the natural environment from development.

It seems to me that increased availability of food to those in need, as well as improved conservation efforts, would be in line with God’s will, not adverse to it.

- Dr. Patrick Knerr | Plainfield

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