The Vatican says it has not endorsed an 11-page final statement endorsing the easing of restrictions on, and allowing more widespread use of genetically modified crops, especially in poorer nations, the Catholic News Service reports.
"The statement is not a statement of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences because the Pontifical Academy of Sciences as such - 80 members - wasn't consulted about it and will not be consulted about it," said Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the academy's chancellor.
The statement, which was recently made public by a private science-publishing company in the Netherlands, also "has no value as the magisterium of the church," he said in an e-mail response to questions on December 1.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi issued a similar communique, adding that the pro-GM statement "cannot be considered an official position of the Holy See."
Some news agencies had mistakenly reported that the statement represented the Vatican's endorsement of easing regulations on and promoting the use of genetically modified food crops.
The Pontifical Academy of Science's headquarters hosted a study week in May 2009 on "Transgenic Plants for Food Security in the Context of Development."
The final statement summarised the week's proceedings and recommended that genetic engineering techniques be freed from "excessive, unscientific regulation" so that modern and predictable GM technologies could be used to enhance nutrition and food production everywhere.
The statement said its conclusions were "drafted and endorsed by all participants of the study week," which included 33 outside experts and only seven academy members, including the academy's chancellor, Bishop Sanchez.
Bishop Sanchez told CNS that the final statement was signed by all of the participants and "therefore it is a statement that has the authority and value of the participants."
"Finally, for the moment, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences is not planning another meeting on this topic," Bishop Sanchez wrote to CNS.
Vatican has not endorsed genetically modified food, official says (Catholic News Agency)
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