Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center
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Saint John Paul II: Quotes on Ecology and the Environment, page 2
Call to Restore Creation The lay faithful are called to restore to creation all its original value. In ordering creation to the authentic well-being of humanity in an activity governed by the life of grace, the lay faithful share in the exercise of the power with which the risen Christ draws all things to himself and subjects them along with himself to the Father, so that God might be everything to everyone (cf. 1 Cor 15:28; Jn 12:32)... Today in an ever-increasingly acute way, the so-called “ecological” question poses itself in relation to socio-economic life and work. Certainly humanity has received from God himself the task of “dominating” the created world and 'cultivating the garden' of the world. But this is a task that humanity must carry out in respect for the divine image received, and, therefore, with intelligence and with love, assuming responsibility for the gifts that God has bestowed and continues to bestow. Humanity has in its possession a gift that must be passed on to future generations, if possible, passed on in better condition. Even these future generations are the recipients of the Lord's gifts: “The dominion granted to humanity by the Creator is not an absolute power, nor can one speak of a freedom to 'use and misuse,' or to dispose of things as one pleases. The limitation imposed from the beginning by the Creator himself and expressed symbolically by the prohibition not to 'eat of the fruit of the tree' (cf. Gn 2:16- 17) shows clearly enough that, when it comes to the natural world, we are subject not only to biological laws but also to moral ones which cannot be violated with impunity. A true concept of development cannot ignore the use of the things of nature, the renewability of resources and the consequences of haphazard industrialization–three considerations which alert our consciences to the moral dimension of development.” + Apostolic Exhortation On the Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and the World CHRISTIFIDELES LAICI; Proclaimed By His Holiness John Paul II, Promulgated December 30, 1988 Cosmic Order of Creation The fact that in the fullness of time the Eternal Word took on the condition of a creature gives a unique cosmic value to the event which took place in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. Thanks to the Word, the world of creatures appears as a “cosmos”, an ordered universe. And it is the same Word who, by taking flesh, renews the cosmic order of creation. The Letter to the Ephesians speaks of the purpose which God had set forth in Christ, “as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (1:9-10)... Christ, the Son who is of one being with the Father, is therefore the one who reveals God's plan for all creation, and for man in particular... In this Man all creation responds to God. Jesus Christ is the new beginning of everything. In him all things come into their own; they are taken up and given back to the Creator from whom they first came... All creation is in reality a manifestation of his glory. + APOSTOLIC LETTER TERTIO MILLENNIO ADVENIENTE, November 10, 1994 Role of Women    This is a matter of justice but also of necessity. Women will increasingly play a part in the solution of the serious problems of the future: leisure time, the quality of life, migration, social services, euthanasia, drugs, health care, the ecology, etc. In all these areas a greater presence of women in society will prove most valuable, for it will help to manifest the contradictions present when society is organized solely according to the criteria of efficiency and productivity, and it will force systems to be redesigned in a way which favors the processes of humanization which mark the "civilization of love". + Letter to Women, June 29, 1995 Consumerism Many people now are tempted to self-indulgence and consumerism, the human identity is often defined by what one owns. Thus they can become more selfish in their demands. + Phoenix Park, Ireland, from September 29 to October 1, 1979 World from Space From the time that we were first able to see pictures of the world from space, a perceptible change has taken place in our understanding of our planet, and of its immense beauty and fragility. + Message for the World Day of Peace, January 1987 A Welcome Sign Another welcome sign is the growing attention being paid to the quality of life and to ecology, especially in more developed societies, where people's expectations are no longer concentrated so much on problems of survival as on the search for an overall improvement of living conditions. + Encyclical Letter EVANGELIUM VITAE, March 25, 1995 Disoriented by Consumerism In many young people, disoriented by consumerism and by the crisis in ideals, the search for an authentic lifestyle can mature, if it is sustained by a coherent and joyful witness of the Christian community in its openness to listen to the cry of a world thirsting for truth and justice. + Message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations, August 15, 1995 Communication Implies Responsibility Your work can be a force for great good or great evil. You yourselves know the dangers, as well as the splendid opportunities open to you. Communication products can be works of great beauty, revealing what is noble and uplifting in humanity and promoting what is just and fair and true. On the other hand communications can appeal to and promote what is debased in people: dehumanized sex through pornography or through a casual attitude toward sex and human life; greed through materialism and consumerism or irresponsible individualism; anger and vengefulness through violence or self-righteousness. All the media of popular culture which you represent can build or destroy, uplift or cast down. You have untold possibilities for good, ominous possibilities for destruction. It is the difference between death and life – the death or life of the spirit. And it is a matter of choice. The challenge of Moses to the people of Israel is applicable to all of us today: "I set before you life and death... Choose life" (Dt 30:19). + Address to 1,600 policy makers in television, radio, motion pictures and the print media – Registry Hotel, Los Angeles, September 15, 1987 Authentic Development Among today's positive signs we must also mention a greater realization of the limits of available resources, and of the need to respect the integrity and the cycles of nature and to take them into account when planning for development, rather than sacrificing them to certain demagogic ideas about the latter. Today this is called ecological concern... Thus, all is not negative in the contemporary world, nor could it be, for the Heavenly Father's Providence lovingly watches over even our daily cares (cf. Mt 6: 25-32; 10: 23-31; Lk 12: 6-7; 22-30). Indeed, the positive values which we have mentioned testify to a new moral concern, particularly with respect to the great human problems such as development and peace. This fact prompts me to turn my thoughts to the true nature of the development of peoples, along the lines of the Encyclical which we are commemorating, and as a mark of respect for its teaching. The examination which the Encyclical invites us to make of the contemporary world leads us to note in the first place that development is not a straightforward process, as it were automatic and in itself limitless, as though, given certain conditions, the human race were able to progress rapidly towards an undefined perfection of some kind. Such an idea linked to a notion of "progress" with philosophical connotations deriving from the Enlightenment, rather than to the notion of "development" which is used in a specifically economic and social sense now seems to be seriously called into doubt, particularly since the tragic experience of the two world wars, the planned and partly achieved destruction of whole peoples, and the looming atomic peril. A naive mechanistic optimism has been replaced by a well-founded anxiety for the fate of humanity. At the same time, however, the "economic" concept itself, linked to the word development, has entered into crisis. In fact there is a better understanding today that the mere accumulation of goods and services, even for the benefit of the majority, is not enough for the realization of human happiness. Nor, in consequence, does the availability of the many real benefits provided in recent times by science and technology, including the computer sciences, bring freedom from every form of slavery. On the contrary, the experience of recent years shows that unless all the considerable body of resources and potential at man's disposal is guided by a moral understanding and by an orientation towards the true good of the human race, it easily turns against man to oppress him. A disconcerting conclusion about the most recent period should serve to enlighten us: side-by-side with the miseries of underdevelopment, themselves unacceptable, we find ourselves up against a form of superdevelopment, equally inadmissible, because like the former it is contrary to what is good and to true happiness. This superdevelopment, which consists in an excessive availability of every kind of material goods for the. benefit of certain social groups, easily makes people slaves of "possession" and of immediate gratification, with no other horizon than the multiplication or continual replacement of the things already owned with others still better. This is the so-called civilization of "consumption" or "consumerism", which involves so much "throwing- away" and "waste". An object already owned but now superseded by something better is discarded, with no thought of its possible lasting value in itself, nor of some other human being who is poorer. All of us experience firsthand the sad effects of this blind submission to pure consumerism: in the first place a crass materialism, and at the same time a radical dissatisfaction, because one quickly learns unless one is shielded from the flood of publicity and the ceaseless and tempting offers of products that the more one possesses the more one wants, while deeper aspirations remain unsatisfied and perhaps even stifled. The Encyclical of Pope Paul VI pointed out the difference, so often emphasized today, between "having" and "being",[51] which had been expressed earlier in precise words by the Second Vatican Council.[52] To "have" objects and goods does not in itself perfect the human subject, unless it contributes to the maturing and enrichment of that subject's "being", that is to say unless it contributes to the realization of the human vocation as such. Of course, the difference between "being" and "having", the danger inherent in a mere multiplication or replacement of things possessed compared to the value of "being", need not turn into a contradiction. One of the greatest injustices in the contemporary world consists precisely in this: that the ones who possess much are relatively few and those who possess almost nothing are many. It is the injustice of the poor distribution of the goods and services originally intended for all. This then is the picture: there are some people the few who possess much who do not really succeed in "being" because, through a reversal of the hierarchy of values, they are hindered by the cult of "having"; and there are others the many who have little or nothing–who do not succeed in realizing their basic human vocation because they are deprived of essential goods. The evil does not consist in "having" as such, but in possessing without regard for the quality and the ordered hierarchy of the goods one has. Quality and hierarchy arise from the subordination of goods and their availability to man's "being" and his true vocation. This shows that although development has a necessary economic dimension, since it must supply the greatest possible number of the world's inhabitants with an availability of goods essential for them "to be", it is not limited to that dimension. If it is limited to this, then it turns against those whom it is meant to benefit. The characteristics of full development, one which is "more human" and able to sustain itself at the level of the true vocation of men and women without denying economic requirements, were described by Paul VI.[53] Development which is not only economic must be measured and oriented according to the reality and vocation of man seen in his totality, namely, according to his interior dimension. There is no doubt that he needs created goods and the products of industry, which is constantly being enriched by scientific and technological progress. And the ever greater availability of material goods not only meets needs but also opens new horizons. The danger of the misuse of material goods and the appearance of artificial needs should in no way hinder the regard we have for the new goods and resources placed at our disposal and the use we make of them. On the contrary, we must see them as a gift from God and as a response to the human vocation, which is fully realized in Christ. However, in trying to achieve true development we must never lose sight of that dimension which is in the specific nature of man, who has been created by God in his image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26). It is a bodily and a spiritual nature, symbolized in the second creation account by the two elements: the earth, from which God forms man's body, and the breath of life which he breathes into man's nostrils (cf. Gen 2:7). Thus man comes to have a certain affinity with other creatures: he is called to use them, and to be involved with them. As the Genesis account says (cf. Gen 2:15), he is placed in the garden with the duty of cultivating and watching over it, being superior to the other creatures placed by God under his dominion (cf. Gen 1:2526). But at the same time man must remain subject to the will of God, who imposes limits upon his use and dominion over things (cf. Gen 2:16-17), just as he promises him immortality (cf. Gen 2:9; Wis 2:23). Thus man, being the image of God, has a true affinity with him too. On the basis of this teaching, development cannot consist only in the use, dominion over and indiscriminate possession of created things and the products of human industry, but rather in subordinating the possession, dominion and use to man's divine likeness and to his vocation to immortality. This is the transcendent reality of the human being, a reality which is seen to be shared from the beginning by a couple, a man and a woman (cf. Gen 1: 27), and is therefore fundamentally social. According to Sacred Scripture therefore, the notion of development is not only "lay" or "profane", but is also seen to be, while having a socioeconomic dimension of its own, the modern expression of an essential dimension of man's vocation. The fact is that man was not created, so to speak, immobile and static. The first portrayal of him, as given in the Bible, certainly presents him as a creature and image, defined in his deepest reality by the origin and affinity that constitute him. But all this plants within the human being man and woman the seed and the requirement of a special task to be accomplished by each individually and by them as a couple. The task is "to have dominion" over the other created beings, "to cultivate the garden". This is to be accomplished within the framework of obedience to the divine law and therefore with respect for the image received, the image which is the clear foundation of the power of dominion recognized as belonging to man as the means to his perfection (cf. Gen 1:26-30; 2:15-16; Wis 9:2-3). + Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, December 30, 1987 Environmental Protection is an Integral Aspect of Development The protection of the natural environment has become a new and integral aspect of the development issue. When we pay proper attention to its ecological dimension, the struggle against hunger appears even more complex, and calls for the establishment of new bonds of solidarity. Concern for ecology, seen in connection with the process of development and in particular the requirements of production, demands first of all that in every economic enterprise there be a rational and calculated use of resources. It has become increasingly evident that an indiscriminate use of available natural goods, with harm to the primary sources of energy and resources and to the natural environment in general , entails a serious moral responsibility. Not only the present generation but also future generations are affected by such actions. Economic activity carries with it the obligation to use the goods of nature reasonably. But it also involves the grave moral obligation both to repair damage already inflicted on nature and to prevent any negative effects which may later arise. A more careful control of possible consequences on the natural environment is required in the wake of industrialization, especially in regard to toxic residue, and in those areas marked by an excessive use of chemicals in agriculture. The relationship between problems of development and ecology also demands that economic activity project and accept the expenses entailed by environmental protection measures demanded by the community, be it local or global, in which that activity takes place. Such expenses must not be accounted as an incidental surcharge, but rather as an essential element of the actual cost of economic activity. The result will be a more limited profit than was possible in the past, as well as the acknowledgment of new costs deriving from environmental protection. Those costs must be taken into account both in the management of individual businesses and in nation-wide programs of economic and financial policy, which must now be approached in the perspective of regional and world economy. In the end, we are called to operate beyond narrow national self-interest and a sectorial defense of the prosperity of particular groups and individuals. These new criteria and costs must find their place in the projected budgets of programs of economic and financial policy for all countries, both the developed and the developing. Today, there is a rising awareness that the adoption of measures to protect the environment implies a real and necessary solidarity among nations. It is becoming more apparent that an effective solution to the problems raised by the risk of atomic and atmospheric pollution and the deterioration of the general conditions of nature and human life can be provided only on the world level. This in turn entails a recognition of the increasing interdependence which characterizes our age. Indeed, it is increasingly evident that development policies demand a genuine international cooperation, carried out in accord with decisions made jointly and within the context of a universal vision, one which considers the good of the human family in both the present generation and in those to come. + Address to the XXV Session of the Conference of FAO, November 16, 1989 Stewardship Over Nature It is a requirement of our human dignity, and therefore a serious responsibility, to exercise dominion over creation in such a way that it truly serves the human family. Exploitation of the riches of nature must take place according to criteria that take into account not only the immediate needs of people but also of future generations. In this way, the stewardship over nature, entrusted by God to man, will not be guided by short-sightedness or selfish pursuits: rather, it will take into account the fact that all created goods are directed to the good of all humanity. + United Nations Centre for the Environment, Nairobi, August 1985 Majesty of the Mountains I love these mountains; up here one breathes with the pure mountain air the mysterious invitation to faith and conversion. + Vacationing in the Italian Alps, 1990 In front of the majesty of the mountains we are pushed to establish a more respectful relationship with nature... At the same time...we are stimulated to meditate upon the gravity of so many desecrations of nature, often carried out with inadmissible nonchalance.                     + Lorenzago Dicardore, Italy, discussing hiking in the Dolomite Mountains, July 15, 1996 Every time that I have the opportunity to rest in the mountains and contemplate these landscapes, I thank God for the majestic beauty of creation. I thank him for his own Beauty, of which the universe is a reflection, capable of fascinating attentive souls, urging them to praise its greatness. + Message to Benedictines for 1500th Anniversary,  July 11, 1999 I thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to spend a time of rest again this year in this charming mountainous locality, which brings to mind the majestic presence of God. + Angelus Message, July 16, 2000 The Gospel is the Joy of Creation    The Gospel, above all else, is the joy of creation. God, who in creating saw that His creation was good (cf. Gn 1:1- 25), is the source of joy for all creatures, and above all for humankind. God the Creator seems to say of all creation:”It is good that you exist”. And His joy spreads especially through the”'good news”, according to which good is greater than all that is evil in the world. Evil, in fact, is neither fundamental nor definitive. This point clearly distinguishes Christianity from all forms of existential pessimism. Creation was given and entrusted to humankind as a duty, representing not a source of suffering but the foundation of a creative existence in the world... A person who believes in the essential goodness of all creation is capable of discovering all the secrets of creation, in order to perfect continually the work assigned to him by God. It must be clear for those who accept Revelation, and in particular the Gospel, that it is better to exist than not to exist. And because of this, in the realm of the Gospel, there is no space for any nirvana, apathy, or resignation. Instead, there is a great challenge to perfect creation-be it oneself, be it the world... This essential joy of creation is, in turn, completed by the joy of salvation, by the joy of redemption... The work of redemption is to elevate the work of creation to a new level. Creation is permeated with a redemptive sanctification, even a divinization. It comes as if drawn to the sphere of the divinity and of the intimate life of God. In this realm the destructive power of sin is defeated. Indestructible life, revealed in the Resurrection of Christ, 'swallows,' so to speak, death. + From the book by Pope John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope The Voice of God in the Language of Creatures In the light of the doctrine of the Second Vatican Council, the truth about creation is not merely a truth of faith based on the revelation of the Old and New Testaments. It is also a truth common to all believers “no matter what their religion”, that is to say, all those “who recognize the voice and the revelation of the Creator in the language of creatures”. + General audience of April 2, 1986 Divine Providence Continues to Care for Creation By creating, God called into being from nothing all that began to exist outside himself. But God's creative act does not end here. What comes forth from nothing would return to nothing if it were left to itself and not conserved in being by the Creator. Having created the cosmos, God continues to create it, by maintaining it in existence. Conservation is a continuous creation. We can say that understood in the most generic sense, divine Providence is expressed especially in this "conservation", namely, in maintaining in existence all that has had being from nothing.  In this sense Providence is a constant and unending confirmation of the work of creation in all its richness and variety. It implies the constant and uninterrupted presence of God as Creator in the whole of creation. It is a presence which continually creates and reaches the deepest roots of everything that exists. + General audience of May 7, 1986 God is in the Creature and the Creature is in God As Creator, God is in a certain sense "outside" of created being and what is created is "outside" of God. At the same time the creature fully and completely owes to God its own existence (its being what it is), because the creature has its origin fully and completely from the power of God. Through this creative power (omnipotence) God is in the creature and the creature is in him. However, this divine immanence in no way diminishes God's transcendence in regard to everything to which he gives existence. + General audience of January 15, 1986 Omnipotence Omnipotence reveals also the love of God who, in creating, gives existence to beings different from himself, and at the same time different among themselves. + General audience of March 5, 1986 Wisdom and Love of the Creator God calls creatures into existence by a fully free and sovereign decision. In a real, though limited and partial way, they participate in the perfection of God's absolute fullness. They differ from one another according to the degree of perfection they have received, beginning with inanimate beings, then up to animate beings, and finally to human beings; or rather, higher still, to the creatures of a purely spiritual nature. The ensemble of creatures constitutes the universe.  In its totality as well as its parts, the visible and invisible cosmos reflects eternal Wisdom and expresses the inexhaustible love of the Creator. + General audience of March 12, 1986 Authentic Development All of us experience firsthand the sad effects of this blind submission to pure consumerism: in the first place a crass materialism, and at the same time a radical dissatisfaction, because one quickly learns - unless one is shielded from the flood of publicity and the ceaseless and tempting offers of products - that the more one possesses the more one wants, while deeper aspirations remain unsatisfied and perhaps even stifled... To "have" objects and goods does not in itself perfect the human subject, unless it contributes to the maturing and enrichment of that subject's "being," that is to say unless it contributes to the realization of the human vocation as such. Of course, the difference between "being" and "having," the danger inherent in a mere multiplication or replacement of things possessed compared to the value of "being," need not turn into a contradiction. One of the greatest injustices in the contemporary world consists precisely in this: that the ones who possess much are relatively few and those who possess almost nothing are many. It is the injustice of the poor distribution of the goods and services originally intended for all. This then is the picture: there are some people - the few who possess much - who do not really succeed in "being" because, through a reversal of the hierarchy of values, they are hindered by the cult of "having"; and there are others - the many who have little or nothing - who do not succeed in realizing their basic human vocation because they are deprived of essential goods. The evil does not consist in "having" as such, but in possessing without regard for the quality and the ordered hierarchy of the goods one has. Quality and hierarchy arise from the subordination of goods and their availability to man's "being" and his true vocation. This shows that although development has a necessary economic dimension, since it must supply the greatest possible number of the world's inhabitants with an availability of goods essential for them "to be," it is not limited to that dimension.  If it is limited to this, then it turns against those whom it is meant to benefit... Development which is not only economic must be measured and oriented according to the reality and vocation of man seen in his totality, namely, according to his interior dimension. There is no doubt that he needs created goods and the products of industry, which is constantly being enriched by scientific and technological progress. And the ever greater availability of material goods not only meets needs but also opens new horizons. The danger of the misuse of material goods and the appearance of artificial needs should in no way hinder the regard we have for the new goods and resources placed at our disposal and the use we make of them. On the contrary, we must see them as a gift from God and as a response to the human vocation, which is fully realized in Christ. However, in trying to achieve true development we must never lose sight of that dimension which is in the specific nature of man, who has been created by God in his image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26). It is a bodily and a spiritual nature, symbolized in the second creation account by the two elements: the earth, from which God forms man's body, and the breath of life which he breathes into man's nostrils (cf. Gen 2:7). Thus man comes to have a certain affinity with other creatures: he is called to use them, and to be involved with them. As the Genesis account says (cf. Gen 2:15), he is placed in the garden with the duty of cultivating and watching over it, being superior to the other creatures placed by God under his dominion (cf. Gen 1:25-26). But at the same time man must remain subject to the will of God, who imposes limits upon his use and dominion over things (cf. Gen 2:16-17), just as he promises his mortality (cf. Gen 2:9; Wis 2:23). Thus man, being the image of God, has a true affinity with him too. On the basis of this teaching, development cannot consist only in the use, dominion over and indiscriminate possession of created things and the products of human industry, but rather in subordinating the possession, dominion and use to man's divine likeness and to his vocation to immortality. This is the transcendent reality of the human being, a reality which is seen to be shared from the beginning by a couple, a man and a woman (cf. Gen 1:27), and is therefore fundamentally social. + Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, December 30, 1987 Lent Should Engender Respect For Environment VATICAN CITY (CWN) - Pope John Paul on Sunday told Catholics that respect and careful use of the environment are commands from Scripture, and said the season of Lent offers a lesson on nature. Man's privileged position over nature, as outlined in the Bible, did not authorize him to devastate it, the Pope said in his weekly Sunday Angelus address. Humans have a "privileged position" in the world, "but this is not authority to lord over it, even less to devastate it," the Holy Father said.  The Pope also said the penitential season of Lent leading up to Easter offers a "profound lesson to respect the environment." He said a tendency toward a "culture of domination" in modern society had led too many people to abuse nature and at times even to be accomplices to its devastation.  This attitude leads to "a distorted use of nature that disfigures it and endangers the equilibrium," he said. "And it does not stop even with the threat of ecological disaster," he added. An authentic understanding of creation, the Pope concluded, must follow the words of St. Paul, that all creation is longing for liberation through Jesus Christ. Such liberation comes by ending slavery to sin. Thus the needs of the environment are like the needs of the human soul, especially in the season of Lent: the renunciation of selfishness leads to new and greater life. + March 25, 1996 © Copyright 1978 Libreria Editrice Vaticana More quotes by Saint John Paul II ->  
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