Papal ecology: Protecting all God’s creatures, respecting God’s plan
March 26, 201526 mars 2015Add a commentÉcrire un commentaire

Trees line the banks of a creek along the Pomeroon River in the interior of Guyana. The Catholic Church supports the efforts of scientists to study the causes and effects of climate change. (CNS/Bob Roller)
Trees line the banks of a creek along the Pomeroon River in the interior of Guyana. The Catholic Church supports the efforts of scientists to study the causes and effects of climate change. (CNS/Bob Roller)

by Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Catholic Church supports the efforts of scientists to study the causes and effects of climate change and insists governments and businesses must get serious about specific commitments for protecting the environment.

But Pope Francis, like his predecessors, does not pretend to have a technical solution to the problem. However, he does feel a responsibility to remind Christians of their religious obligation to safeguard creation, beginning with human beings who are created in the image and likeness of God.

Clearing his calendar for a week in late March, Pope Francis rolled up his sleeves to put the final touches on an encyclical letter about the environment; building on what he and his predecessors have said, the document — planned for publication early in the summer — is expected to present ecology as the ultimate pro-life, pro-poor, pro-family issue.

For Pope Francis, like Pope Benedict XVI, safeguarding creation is not simply about protecting plants and animals, or just about ensuring the air, water and land will support human life for generations to come. Those things are part of the task.

“We need to see — with the eyes of faith — the beauty of God’s saving plan, the link between the natural environment and the dignity of the human person,” Pope Francis wrote in a speech prepared for young people in the Philippines in January.

Christianity teaches that God created the world and everything in it with a certain order and proclaimed it good. As stewards of God’s creation, Pope Francis has said, people have an absolute obligation to respect the natural order.

Defending marriage as the lifelong union of a man and a woman, Pope Francis told a conference in November, “the crisis of the family has produced a human ecological crisis, for social environments, like natural environments, need protection.”

“Human ecology” was a phrase often used by retired Pope Benedict XVI, who was known for “green” initiatives, including installing solar panels at the Vatican. He taught that “the book of nature is one and indivisible; it includes not only the environment but also individual, family and social ethics. Our duties toward the environment flow from our duties toward the person, considered both individually and in relation to others.”

In his 2009 encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate,” Pope Benedict wrote that the church “must defend not only earth, water and air as gifts of creation that belong to everyone. She must above all protect mankind from self-destruction. There is need for what might be called a human ecology, correctly understood.”

The “decisive issue,” he wrote, “is the overall moral tenor of society. If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology.”

Echoes of Pope Benedict’s thought can be found in Pope Francis’ frequent denunciations of the “throwaway culture.” He sees people increasingly at ease throwing away not just plastic and paper, but wasting food at a time when so many people are starving. Even more seriously, he has said, people have a similar “throwaway” attitude when it comes to people they don’t find useful — including the unborn, the sick and the elderly.

Meeting with U.N. officials in May 2014, Pope Francis insisted the defense of the family, the defense of the poor and protecting the environment are part of the same agenda of ensuring the survival and thriving of humanity.

The international community, he said, must address “the structural causes of poverty and hunger, attain more substantial results in protecting the environment, ensure dignified and productive labor for all and provide appropriate protection for the family, which is an essential element in sustainable human and social development.”

As often happens when things go wrong, Pope Francis has said, the poor pay the highest price for the destruction of the environment: the seas and rivers no longer provide fish; landslides send their makeshift homes tumbling down hillsides; the deserts expand, robbing sustenance farmers of even a meager diet.

Flying from Sri Lanka to the Philippines in January, Pope Francis told reporters accompanying him that Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and a team from his office had prepared drafts of the ecology document.

During an early March visit to Ireland, Cardinal Turkson spoke about the principles underlying the pope’s upcoming letter, insisting “this is not some narrow agenda for the greening of the church or the world. It is a vision of care and protection that embraces the human person and the human environment in all possible dimensions.”

All people are called to be “protectors” of the environment and of one another, especially the poor, the cardinal said. The responsibility and obligation of care is both a matter of justice and a matter of faith; it is the natural result of being in a right relationship with God, with others and with the earth.

“When Pope Francis says that destroying the environment is a grave sin; when he says that it is not large families that cause poverty but an economic culture that puts money and profit ahead of people; when he says that we cannot save the environment without also addressing the profound injustices in the distribution of the goods of the earth; when he says that this is ‘an economy that kills’ — he is not making some political comment about the relative merits of capitalism and communism,” Cardinal Turkson said. “He is rather restating ancient biblical teaching.”

At the heart of the “integral ecology” Pope Francis is calling for, he said, “is the call to dialogue and a new solidarity, a changing of human hearts in which the good of the human person, and not the pursuit of profit, is the key value that directs our search for the global, the universal common good.”

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Catégorie : CNSMots clés : ecology, encyclicals, Francis, poverty

Jean Vanier wins Templeton Prize for 2015
March 11, 201511 mars 2015Add a commentÉcrire un commentaire

Jean Vanier has been awarded the prestigious Templeton Prize for 2015The Templeton Foundation has just announced from London that it has awarded the 2015 Templeton Prize to Jean Vanier, for his innovative discovery of the central role of vulnerable people in the creation of a more just, inclusive and humane society. The Templeton Prize, which has previously been awarded to Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and others, is one of the most prestigious honours in the world, and is valued at close to 1.7 million USD.

According to Jean Vanier, this prize honours primarily the most vulnerable among us, often marginalized in our societies, and to whom he attributes his discovery. It is these people who revealed to him that any person who has been previously rejected, when welcomed, becomes a source of dialogue, of healing, of unity and of peace for our societies and our religions. … Read more » … À suivre »

Young Christians invited to spend a year at Lambeth Palace
March 2, 20152 mars 2015Add a commentÉcrire un commentaire

Come and Spend a Year in God's Time: The Community of St. Anselm invites young Christians to spend a year in God's time at Lambeth PalaceA new community will be taking root at Lambeth Palace in September, and it has just started accepting applications.

The Community of St. Anselm, named for the medieval intellectual and former Archbishop of Canterbury, is accepting applications from across the Communion from young people who want to spend “a year in God’s time” living at Lambeth Palace in prayer, study and spiritual discovery.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, says that he expects the community “to have radical impact” on both the individuals involved and the worldwide Communion. “I urge young people to step up: here is an open invitation to be transformed and to transform,” he said in a blog posting on the community’s website. … Read more » … À suivre »

Catholic, Orthodox leaders urge ‘unity against aggression’ in Ukraine
February 6, 20156 février 2015Add a commentÉcrire un commentaire

Ukrainians walk past symbolic crosses set up by protesters in front of the Russian embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, Feb. 1. CNS photo/Sergey Dolzhenko, EPACatholic and Orthodox archbishops in Ukraine appealed for national unity against pro-Russia separatists as calls mounted for the United States to help arm Ukrainian forces.

Citing constant danger to Ukraine, the church leaders called the war “a crime against life” that brings “suffering and death, grief and injustice” in a Feb. 4 statement.

Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv, president of Ukraine’s Catholic bishops’ conference, and Ukrainian Orthodox Archbishop Filaret Kucherov of Lviv within the Moscow Patriarchate were among those making the appeal.

“But Ukraine, tired and tested, remains unbowed in its faith and dedicated effort of will,” the religious leaders said. “Before our eyes, a new state is being born, a new generation of heroes willing to sacrifice life, forget comfort and tranquility and be the first to respond to the homeland’s cry for help.”

The appeal was published as fighting intensified after a new separatist offensive in the self-proclaimed rebel republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. … Read more » … À suivre »

Archbishop Oscar Romero, blessed and defender of the poor and justice
February 4, 20154 février 2015Add a commentÉcrire un commentaire

Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (August 15, 1917 to March 24, 1980)This morning in the Holy See Press Office Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family and postulator of the cause for the beatification of Oscar Arnulfo Romero, presented the figure of the Salvadoran archbishop assassinated in 1980 while celebrating Mass and whose martyrdom was acknowledged yesterday with the signing of the necessary decree by Pope Francis. Historian Roberto Morozzo della Rocca, professor of modern history at the University of Rome III and author of a biography of Oscar Romero, also participated in the conference. Extensive extracts of Archbishop Paglia’s presentation are published below.

“It is an extraordinary gift for all of the Church at the beginning of this millennium to see rise to the altar a pastor who gave his life for his people; and this is true for all Christians. This can be seen in the attention of the Anglican Church, which has placed a statue of Romero in the facade of Westminster Abbey alongside those of Martin Luther King and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and for all of society that regards him as a defender of the poor and of peace. Gratitude is also due to Benedict XVI, who followed the cause from the very beginning and on 20 December 2012 – just over a month before his resignation – decided to unblock the process to enable it to follow the regular itinerary”.

“The work of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, with Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., has been careful and attentive. The unanimity of both the commission of cardinals and the commission of theologians confirmed his martyrdom in odium fidei. … The martyrdom of Romero has given meaning and strength to many Salvadoran families who lost relatives and friends during the civil war. His memory immediately became the memory of other victims, perhaps less illustrious, of the violence”. … Read more » … À suivre »

Woman bishop challenges future of Anglican-Catholic dialogue
January 30, 201530 janvier 2015Add a commentÉcrire un commentaire

Bishop Libby Lane was consecrated in York Minster on January 26 as the first female bishop in the Church of EnglandWhile the consecration of the Church of England‘s first woman bishop presents significant challenges in bringing Catholics and Anglicans into “closer communion,” ecumenical leaders say the door to dialogue remains open.

The consecration of Libby Lane as an Anglican bishop earlier this month creates a “further challenge to a hope of organic reunion”, said David Moxon, another Anglican bishop, in a Jan. 29 interview with CNA, reiterating concerns expressed by Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham.

Moxon and Archbishop Longley are co-chairs of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), which aims to advance ecumenical relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

In a Jan. 27 interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop Longley, acknowledging the challenges presented by Lane’s Anglican episcopal consecration, stressed that it “shouldn’t affect the way in which the dialogue is continued.” … Read more » … À suivre »