Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Catholic Church "jumps on the green bandwagon?"

Thanks goes to Deacon Keith Fournier of Catholic Online:

The Catholic Church has been green for a lot longer than any modern environmental movement

On January 1, 2010 Pope Benedict XVI released a letter entitled "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, protect creation". Some reports intimated that the Pope had somehow "joined" the environmental movement. In fact, he was simply teaching what the Church has always taught; a proper stewardship of the environment is grounded in our obligations to - and solidarity with - one another. We have been given to one another as gifts. Creation has been given to us as a human community, with responsibilities which we must now share. I sent the following excerpt from the letter to a few friends:

"There exists a certain reciprocity: as we care for creation, we realize that God, through creation, cares for us. On the other hand, a correct understanding of the relationship between man and the environment will not end by absolutizing nature or by considering it more important than the human person. If the Church's magisterium expresses grave misgivings about notions of the environment inspired by ecocentrism and biocentrism, it is because such notions eliminate the difference of identity and worth between the human person and other living things..."

This is an excellent article that highlights the Christian understanding of environmental stewardship, supported by the Holy Father's words. We are called to care for creation as it has been entrusted to us. The land, the seas, the mountains, the forests, the air, and all living things that dwell within each depend on us. A good thing to remember on this, St. Clare of Assisi's Feast Day.

Memorial of St. Clare
Daily Mass Readings,
Ezekial 9:1-7, 10:18-22
Psalm 113:1-6
Matthew 18:15-20


  1. Thanks for posting a link to the January 1, 2010 letter. I'll have to come back and read it more carefully, but one line that struck me was the call for "a profound, long-term review of our model of development". Are our usual definitions of developed and undeveloped (or developing) countries wrong? To be "developed" does a country have to be high on the list of contributors to global warming? Are there other measuring sticks to use for development - other ways for countries to leave behind poverty and all its human problems than the way we over-developed countries have shown them?

    "...a profound, long-term review of our model of development" is a tall order. Is it something the Church can really do anything about? There are a billion Catholics in the world. If we started using new definitions, what could the effect be?

  2. I think the definition of "development" could use a bit of tweaking, yeah. That seems to be what the Holy Father is calling for. Now, how we as Church would go about this, I'm a bit hazy on. It all begins with the individual, though, making changes to their own "footprint" and passing that on to as many as possible. Leadership in a situatio like this is key - someone must stand up and lay downa concrete goal, a la JFK promising to land a man on the moon by the end of the 60s. Not a miracle we got there - we just decided to go.