Monday, January 28, 2008

Catholics on the Environment

One must take into account the nature of each being
and of its mutual connection in an ordered system,
which is precisely the ‘Cosmos’.

- On Social Concern (Solicitudo Rei Socialis) 1988, No. 34

The image of the creator must shine forth ever more clearly, not only in his creature man, but in all of his creation in nature.

- Pope Paul VI to the Council of the World Wildlife Fund, 1969

Pope John Paul II invited some 4,000 people gathered in the rain to praise God and see the imprint of His love in the beauty of creation. He called the beauty of creation the first book that God has entrusted to the mind and heart of man. The beauty of nature impels the soul to recall God’s goodness, (the Pope) told the crowd that gathered to pray the angelus with him.

- Pope links beauty of creation to God’s love,
Angelus Address given in the Italian Alps, 15 July 2001


Faced with the widespread destruction of the environment, people everywhere are coming to understand that we cannot continue to use the goods of the Earth as we have in the past.

The public in general as well as political leaders are concerned about this problem, and experts from a wide range of disciplines are studying its causes. Moreover, a new ecological awareness is beginning to emerge which, rather than being downplayed, ought to be encouraged to develop into concrete programs and initiatives

Introduction to the Message of His Holiness Pope John Paul II for the celebration
of the World Day of Peace, 1 January 1990

The ecological crisis is a moral issue... Respect for life and for the dignity of the human person extends also to the rest of creation... we cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention both to the consequences of such interference in other areas and to the well-being of future generations.

- Pope John Paul II, 1990

God made man the steward of creation

1. In the hymn of praise proclaimed . . . (Ps 148:1-5), the Psalmist summons all creatures, calling them by name. Angels, sun, moon, stars and heavens appear on high; twenty-two things move upon the Earth, as many as the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, in order to give an impression of fullness and totality.

The believer, in a sense, is “the shepherd of being”, that is, the one who leads all beings to God, inviting them to sing an “alleluia” of praise. The Psalm brings us into a sort of cosmic church whose apse is the heavens and whose aisles are the regions of the world, in which the choir of God's creatures sings his praise.

Pope John Paul II, Wednesday 17 January 2001

In this rediscovered harmony with nature and with one another, men and women are once again walking in the garden of creation, seeking to make the goods of the Earth available to all and not just to a privileged few, as the biblical jubilee suggests (cf. Lv 25:8-13, 23).

Among those marvels we find the Creator’s voice, transmitted by heaven and Earth, by night and day: a language “with no speech nor words; whose voice is not heard” and which can cross all boundaries (cf. Ps 19[18]:2-5).

The Book of Wisdom, echoed by Paul, celebrates God’s presence in the world, recalling that “from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator” (Wis 13:5; cf. Rom 1:20). This is also praised in the Jewish tradition of the Hasidim: “Where I wander – You! Where I ponder – You!... In every trend, at every end, only You, You again, always You!” (M Buber, Tales of the Hasidim [Italian ed., Milan 1979, p 256]).

Pope John Paul II, 2001

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