Message for the 25th Farmers’ Sunday (Summary)
Life-Giving Agriculture is the Hope of the Earth and Humanity!
In the late 20th century, agricultural production doubled because of the industrialization of agricultural processes. The transition from being an agriculturally based society to that of an industrial society has brought about great wealth. Unfortunately, a small minority of people have become wealthy, while almost one billion people in the world suffer from hunger. This unfair reality shows that the process of agricultural industrialization has failed to serve the common good.
It has been more than half a century since we began to focus on industrialization and urbanization as if they were the only ways forward, all the time ignoring agriculture and rural areas. As a result, rural areas face crises in the shape of disruptions to community, the environment, and food production. The land is dying, and our national food self-sufficiency rate is merely 23%, one of the lowest in the world. If grain-producing countries decide to ban food exports, our country would be in a dangerous position. If we regard agriculture as no more than another profit-making industry, caught up in the market logic of efficiency and competition, our society will be faced with an irreversible crisis.
Since the establishment of the Korean Catholic Farmers’ Movement, in the Catholic Church, it has worked to maintain the divine order of creation, placing life at its center. The Farmers’ Movement launched a nationwide campaign, Our Rural Revival Movement, in response to the prophetic call to advocate for the peaceful coexistence of humanity and nature, and prioritize life over purely economic values. Farmers have restored vitality to the soil by introducing organic farming, and urban consumers have supported such life-giving agriculture by choosing such healthy products. In this way, Christians have played a major role in the life community movement in which rural and urban communities join together. However, rural communities still struggle in difficult circumstances.
“Stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Mt 25,13).
Saying that nobody knows when and how the end of the age will come, Jesus commanded his disciples to stay awake at all times. We should, move beyond the short-sighted approach pursued by the financial markets and revitalize agriculture, taking into consideration its multifaceted roles and value to society.
The Church is called to preserve life and the order of creation given by God. Let us continue to evangelize society through the Our Rural Revival Movement.
July 19, 2020
25th Farmers’ Sunday
+ Peter Kang U-il
Bishop of Cheju
President of the CBCK Committee for Ecology & Environment