Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center
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Saint John Paul II: Quotes on Ecology and the Environment, page 4
The Creator’s Original Plan Indeed, nature itself, since it was subjected to the senselessness, degradation and devastation caused by sin, thus shares in the joy of the liberation achieved by Christ in the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the full realization of the Creator's original plan emerges: that of a creation in which God and man, man and woman, humanity and nature are in harmony, in dialogue and in communion. This plan, upset by sin, is restored in the most marvelous way by Christ, who mysteriously but effectively carries it out in the present reality, waiting to bring it to fulfillment. + All Creation Will Be 'Recapitulated' in Christ, Holy Father's General Audience address of February 14, 2001 Looking at Creation with New Eyes "Bless the Lord, all works of the Lord" (Daniel 3:57). A cosmic breath pervades this canticle taken from the Book of Daniel... One looks up at the sun, the moon, the stars; looks down on the expanse of waters, and up toward the mountains, lingers on the most diverse atmospheric situations; passes from heat to cold, from light to darkness; considers the mineral and vegetable world, gazes at the different species of animals. The appeal then becomes universal: It calls the angels of God, gathers all the 'sons of man,' but particularly involves Israel, the people of God, its priests, its just people." The Christian feels grateful not only for the gift of creation, but also because he is the object of God's paternal care, who has raised him in Christ to the dignity of a son. A paternal care that makes one look at creation itself with new eyes, and makes one enjoy its beauty, in which one can see, as through filigree, the love of God. It is with such sentiments that Francis of Assisi contemplated creation and raised his praise to God, the ultimate source of all beauty. One imagines, spontaneously, that the elevations of this biblical text echoed in his soul when in San Damiano, after having reached the height of suffering in body and spirit, he composed the “Canticle to Brother Sun”. + VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2001. Addressing the 20,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square Irrational Destruction of Nature Drug trafficking, corruption at all levels, inequality between social groups, and the irrational destruction of nature attest that, in the absence of moral points of reference, an unbridled greed for wealth and power takes over, obscuring any Gospel-based vision of social reality. + Papal Address to New Brazilian Ambassador, Vatican City, April 13, 2001 Benefits of Tourism in Contemplation of God in Nature In practice, tourism enables us to take a break from daily life, work and the obligations which necessarily bind us. Thus man can “consider his own existence and others} through different eyes: free from his impelling daily concerns, he has an occasion to rediscover his own contemplative dimension and recognize the traces of God in nature and especially in other human beings” (Angelus, 21 July 1996)... On their travels, tourists discover other places, other landscapes and different ways of perceiving and experiencing nature. Accustomed to their own home and city, the usual landscapes and familiar voices, tourists see other images, hear new sounds and admire the diversity of a world that no-one can grasp entirely. As they do so, they surely grow in appreciation of all that surrounds them and the sense that it must be protected. Travelers in touch with the wonders of creation perceive the Creator's presence in their hearts, and they are led to exclaim with sentiments of deep gratitude: “How delightful are all his works, how dazzling to the eye!” (Sir 42,22). + From the Vatican, 9 June 2001. Holy Father's Message for the World Day of Tourism Value of Solidarity Faced with growing inequalities in the world, the prime value which must be ever more widely inculcated is certainly that of solidarity. A society depends on the basic relations that people cultivate with one another in ever widening circles–from the family to other intermediary social groups, to civil society as a whole and to the national community. States in turn have no choice but to enter into relations with one another. The present reality of global interdependence makes it easier to appreciate the common destiny of the entire human family, and makes all thoughtful people increasingly appreciate the virtue of solidarity. At the same time it is necessary to point out that this growing interdependence has brought to light many inequalities, such as the gap between rich and poor nations; the social imbalance within each nation between those living in opulence and those offended in their dignity since they lack even the necessities of life; the human and environmental degradation provoked and accelerated by the irresponsible use of natural resources. These social inequalities and imbalances have grown worse in certain places, and some of the poorest nations have reached a point of irreversible decline. Consequently, the promotion of justice is at the heart of a true culture of solidarity. It is not just a question of giving one's surplus to those in need, but of “helping entire peoples presently excluded or marginalized to enter into the sphere of economic and human development. For this to happen, it is not enough to draw on the surplus goods which in fact our world abundantly produces; it requires above all a change of lifestyles, of models of production and consumption, and of the established structures of power which today govern societies”. + "DIALOGUE BETWEEN CULTURES FOR A CIVILIZATION OF LOVE AND PEACE," The Vatican, 8 December 2000 Autonomy of Created Things For the very circumstance of their having been created, all things are endowed with their own stability. Truth, goodness, proper laws and order–man must respect these as he isolates them by the appropriate methods of individual sciences or arts... Indeed whoever labors to penetrate the secrets of reality with a humble and steady mind is even unawares being led by the hand of God, who holds all things in existence and gives them their identity... For without the Creator the creature would not exist. For their part, however, all believers of whatever religion have always heard His revealing voice in the discourse of creatures. For when God is forgotten, the creature itself grows unintelligible. One must add that the problem of the legitimate autonomy of earthly things is linked up with today's deeply felt problem of ecology, that is the concern for the protection and preservation of the natural environment. The ecological destruction, which always presupposes a form of selfishness opposed to community well-being, arises from an arbitrary–and in the last analysis harmful–use of creatures, whose laws and natural order are violated by ignoring or disregarding the finality immanent in the work of creation. This mode of behavior derives from a false interpretation of the autonomy of earthly things–man uses these things “without reference to the Creator”, to quote the words of the Council–he also does incalculable harm to himself. The solution of the problem of the ecological threat is in strict relationship with the principles of the legitimate autonomy of earthly things–in the final analysis with the truth about creation and about the Creator of the world. + General audience, 1986 Incarnation of God the Son The Incarnation of God the Son signifies the taking up into the unity with God not only of human nature, but in this human nature, in a sense, of everything that is “flesh”: the whole of humanity, the entire visible and material world. The Incarnation, then, also has a cosmic significance, a cosmic dimension. The “first-born of all creation”, becoming incarnate in the individual humanity of Christ, unites himself in some way with the entire reality of man, which is “flesh” – and in this reality with all “flesh”, with the whole of creation. + Dominum et Vivificantem (n. 50) Development of the Small Farmer We cannot forget that the earth and the fruits of the earth are gifts given by God to all. We sincerely hope that all may benefit from them through equitable sharing. We implore the blessing of God, the Almighty Creator, on the men and women who cultivate the earth, particularly on the most deprived among them, and on those who are engaged in defending their human dignity as our brothers and sisters with respect and love. + World Food Day, 1987 Constructing a More Beautiful World  God, therefore, is the Maker of all things. It is He whom we seek also when we make efforts to construct a more beautiful world–He the changeless Truth and the Being without defect. The visible world, changeable and limited, cannot totally fulfill the expectations of the human mind and heart. These are the inner dispositions which we need to face our daily tasks. Those who work with that sort of attitude enter into a kind of dialogue with God which can easily be called prayer. Their activity becomes real cooperation with the Creator in making the Universe advance towards an ever greater perfection. + To the people of Comacchio, Italy, 1987 A Grave Responsibility to Preserve the Order of the Universe It is in a global and ethical perspective that I address the question of ecology in my message for the 1990 World Day of Peace. This message emphasizes the fundamentally moral character of the ecological crisis and its close relationship to the search for genuine and lasting world peace. In calling attention to the ethical principles, which are essential for an adequate and lasting solution to that crisis, I lay particular emphasis on the value and respect for life and for the integrity of the created order (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Nuntius ob diem ad pacem fovendam dicatum pro a. D. 1990, 7, die 8 dec. 1989: vide supra, p. 1463). Since the ecological crisis is fundamentally a moral issue, it requires that all people respond in solidarity to what is a common threat. Uncontrolled exploitation of the natural environment not only menaces the survival of the human race, it also threatens the natural order in which mankind is meant to receive and to hand on God's gift of life with dignity and freedom. Today responsible men and women are increasingly aware that we must pay “attention to what the earth and its atmosphere are telling us: namely, that there is an order in the universe which must be respected, and that the human person, endowed with the capability of choosing freely, has a grave responsibility to preserve this order for the well-being of future generations” (Ibid. 15: vide supra, p. 1472). Concern for the environment, guided by objective ethical principles and marked by true human solidarity, is ultimately rooted in man’s very nature as a rational and free being who is constantly interacting with his surroundings. As the ecological crisis makes abundantly clear, man’s individual and social development cannot be considered apart from the natural environment. Within this broader perspective man bears a grave responsibility for wisely managing the environment. Indeed, his responsibility increases as he becomes ever more capable of introducing substantial modifications in his natural surroundings. A satisfactory description of the relationship between the environment and development must take into account the person in all his dimensions as well as the respect due to nature, ever mindful of man’s central place within the environment. Authentic human development can hardly ignore the solidarity which binds man and his environment, nor can it exclude a universal concern for the needs of all the earth’s peoples. Any attempt to assess the relationship between environment and development which ignores these deeper realities will inevitably lead to further and perhaps more destabilizing imbalances. Seeing the issue of ecology within a global perspective which takes account of the human person in all his dimensions and of the requirements of an authentically human development may properly be considered one of the great challenges of our time. Should the present generation face this challenge wisely, we may be confident that it will contribute in no small way to resolving other pressing international questions as well. In the end, what is required of us all is an increased awareness of the unity of the human family, in which man remains solidly rooted in his particular culture, and yet is capable of transcending the limits imposed by geography, ideology, race and religion. And in relation to the world’s nations, the need for solidarity in the face of the threats to our common environment presents “new opportunities for strengthening cooperative and peaceful relations among States” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Nuntius ob diem ad pacem fovendam dicatum pro a. D. 1990, 7, die 8 dec. 1989: vide supra, p. 1469). The environmental decisions which are adopted today must also take into account the moral responsibility which we bear towards future generations. For this reason, I have spoken of the need for a new “education in ecological responsibility”, one which entails a genuine conversion in our patterns of thought and behavior (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Nuntius ob diem ad pacem fovendam dicatum pro a. D. 1990, 7, die 8 dec. 1989: vide supra, p. 1471). This moral imperative is rooted in our common humanity and in the universal ethical demands which flow from it. “Even men and women without any particular religious conviction, but with an acute sense of their responsibilities for the common good, recognize their obligation to contribute to the restoration of a healthy environment” (Ibid. 15: vide supra, p. 1472). Christians, for their part, will find inspiration for this task in their belief in God as the Creator of the world and in Jesus Christ as the one who has reconciled to himself all things “whether on earth or in heaven” (Cfr. Col. 1, 20). Our own generation has been blessed in having inherited from the industry of past generations the great wealth of material and spiritual goods which stand at the foundations of our society and its progress. Universal solidarity now demands that we consider it our grave duty to safeguard that inheritance for all our brothers and sisters and to assure that each and every member of the human family may enjoy its benefits. Dear Friends: in expressing my gratitude to “Nova Spes” for its commitment to the process of reflection on these problems, I also express the hope that your work will be a fruitful incentive for yourselves and your colleagues to carry on the important work of promoting those values and programs that can guarantee and develop improved living conditions for all people, facing the ecological crisis in a spirit of authentic solidarity, fraternal charity and unfailing respect towards all people and all nations. I am pleased to renew to you, men and women of thought and science, the assurance expressed by the Second Vatican Council that in the Church you have a friend of your vocation as researchers, a companion in your efforts, an admirer of your successes, and if necessary, a consoler in your discouragement and failures (Cfr. Patrum Conc. Nuntii quibusdam hominum ordinibus dati: Aux hommes de la pensée et de la science, die 8 dec. 1965: AAS 58 [1966] 8-18).  + Address To The Participants In The Symposium Sponsored By “Nova Spes” International Foundation, December 14, 1989 No One Can be Indifferent  As you know in the recent message for the World Day of Peace, I called to the attention of every person of goodwill a serious issue–the problem of ecology–recalling that in finding a solution, we must direct the efforts and mobilize the will of citizens. An issue like this cannot be neglected–for it is vital for human survival–nor can it be reduced to a merely political problem or issue. It has, in fact, a moral dimension which touches everyone and, thus, no one can be indifferent to it. At this brief time in this century, humanity is called to establish a new relationship of attentiveness and respect towards the environment. Humanity must protect its delicate balances, keeping in mind the extraordinary possibilities but, also, the formidable threats inherent in certain forms of experimentation, scientific research and industrial activity–and that must be done if humanity does not want to threaten its very development or draw from it unimaginable consequences... Ecological problems enter into everyone's home, they are discussed in the family circle and people wonder what tomorrow will be like. We must, therefore, mobilize every effort so that each person assumes his or her own responsibility and creates the basis for a lifestyle of solidarity and brotherhood. All have to commit themselves to the equal distribution of this earth's goods, to respect for the life of the neighbor in trouble or on the fringe, and to development of volunteer agencies which today can undertake an important role in the support and coordination in these areas. + Regional Council of Lazio, 1990 Value of Biodiversity in Tropical Ecosystems The topic you have been studying is of immense importance. It is to the undeniable credit of scientists that the value of biodiversity of tropical ecosystems is coming to be more understood and appreciated. However, the extent of the depletion of the earth's biodiversity is, indeed, a very serious problem. It threatens countless other forms of life. Even the quality of human life, because of its dynamic interaction with other species, is being impoverished.  Tropical forests deserve our attention, study, and protection. As well as making an essential contribution to the regulation of the earth's climatic conditions, they possess one of the richest varieties of the earth's species, the beauty of which merits our profound aesthetic appreciation. Moreover, some plants and microorganisms of the forest are capable of synthesizing unlimited numbers of complex substances of great potential to the manufacture of medicines and antibiotics. Other plants posses value as sources of food or as a means of genetically improving strains of edible plants. Unfortunately the rate at which these forests are being destroyed or altered is depleting their biodiversity so quickly that many species may never be catalogued or studied for their possible value to human beings. If an unjustified search for profit is sometimes responsible for deforestation of tropical ecosystems and the loss of their biodiversity, it is also true that a desperate fight against poverty threatens to deplete these important resources of the planet. Today the work of scientists, such as yourselves, is becoming more and more important. An intense program of information and education is needed. In particular your study and research can contribute to fostering an enlightened moral commitment–more urgent now than ever. In this way the present ecological crisis, especially grave in the case of the tropical forests, will become an occasion for a renewed consciousness of man's true place in this world and of his relationship to the environment. The created universe has been given to mankind, not for selfish misuse, but for the glory of God, which consists, as St. Irenaeus said many centuries ago, in “the living man”. + Unesco, UN, World Bank Study Week, 1990 Forest Conservation Before this panorama of meadows, woods, streams and mountain peaks that touch the sky, we all discover afresh the desire to thank God for the wonders that He has made and we wish to listen in silence to the voice of nature, so that we can transform our admiration into prayer. For these mountains awake in our hearts the sense of the infinite with the desire to raise up our minds to what is sublime. It is the Author of Beauty Himself who created these wonders. Today's feast has a special message for you forestry workers by reason of the ecological problem that is implied in your work. It is well known how urgent it is to spread awareness that the resources of our planet must be respected. All are involved here because the world that we inhabit reveals ever more clearly it intrinsic unity, such that the problems of conservation of its patrimony concerns peoples without distinction. The conservation and development of woods, in whatever zone, are fundamental for the maintenance and the recomposition of the natural balances which are indispensable for life. This must be affirmed all the more today as we become aware how urgent it is to change decisively the tendency in all that leads to a disturbing form of pollution. Each single person is obliged to avoid initiatives and actions that could damage the purity of the environment. Since trees and plant life, as a whole, have an indispensable function with regard to the balance of nature, so necessary to life in all its stages, it is a matter of ever greater importance for mankind that they be protected and respected. For the Christian there is a moral commitment to care for the earth so that it may produce fruit and become a dwelling of the universal human family. + Homily in Val Visdene, Italy, on the Feast Day of St. John Gualbert, Patron of Foresters, 1990 Continue Your Work...For the Protection of the Environment Your award is inspired by the spirituality of St. Francis and especially by the Canticle of Praise he composed in honor of the Most High, All Powerful Good Lord. According to the little poor man of Assisi, creation, which is the work of Divine Providence, expresses beauty and goodness, and renders a valuable service to mankind.  It speaks of the Creator manifesting His eternal plan of harmony and peace. Therefore, nature should be respected and preserved so that by establishing a healthy proper relationship with it, people can be led to contemplate the mystery of God's greatness and love. Every being, St. Francis sings, “is beautiful, radiant with great splendor and bears a likeness of You, Most High One” (Canticle of Creatures). Everything has its origin and receives its strength from the Most High Creator. In contact with creation a person can better understand the eternal values upon which life is built. These are, among others, values of beauty and truth, of simplicity and love, of fidelity and solidarity. Observing the wonders of nature, people learn to observe the laws which regulate its dynamism–they are led to look with gratitude on God's plan for the world and mankind. Thus all existence becomes a song of admiration and thanksgiving which is expressed in contemplation and prayer–”Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility”... Continue your work of consciousness raising for the protection of the environment–spread a culture that is attentive to the values of our ecosystem. + The Franciscan Environmental Prize, awarded to Costa Rica, 1991 Burning Problem of Ecology: A Common Declaration We make an appeal that everyone will make a determined effort to solve the current burning problem of ecology, in order to avoid the great risk threatening the world today due to the abuse of resources that are God's gift. + Common Declaration Signed in the Vatican by Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Bartholomew I, June 29, 1995 Feminine Genius Doubtless one of the great social changes of our time is the increasing role played by women, also in an executive capacity, in labor and the economy. This process is gradually changing the face of society, and it is legitimate to hope that it will gradually succeed in changing that of the economy itself, giving it a new human inspiration and removing it from the recurring temptation of dull efficiency marked only by the laws of profit. How can we fail to see that, in order to deal satisfactorily with the many problems emerging today, special recourse to the feminine genius is essential? Among other things, I am thinking of the problems of education, leisure time, the quality of life, migration, social services, the elderly, drugs, health care, and ecology. "In all these areas a greater presence of women in society will prove most valuable", 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, n. 4). + Equal Opportunity Still Urgently Needed, Message Delivered August 20, 1995 Reaffirm the Culture of Life   Life, which has always been welcomed and desired as a great good for humanity as well as being the fundamental and primary value for every individual, must be reaffirmed, assimilated and recovered today from a culture which otherwise risks closing in on and destroying itself, or reducing life to a consumer product for an affluent society... With respect for all creation, the eminent value of the human person acquires an overriding and primordial concern. The culture of life is the basis and the inescapable presupposition for the development of every aspect of an authentic ecology of creation. What is called for is "a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life. All together, we must build a new culture of life" (Evangelium vitae, n. 95). + Reaffirm the Culture of Life!, April 23, 1996 Natural Family Planning Involves Respect for Nature  ...Using the natural methods requires and strengthens the harmony of the married couple, it helps and confirms the rediscovery of the marvelous gift of parenthood, it involves respect for nature and demands the responsibility of the individuals. According to many authoritative opinions, they also foster more completely that human ecology which is the harmony between the demands of nature and personal behavior. At the global level this choice supports the process of freedom and emancipation of women and peoples from unjust family planning programs which bring in their sad wake the various forms of contraception, abortion, and sterilization. + Found in the January 22, 1997 issue of L'Osservatore Romano. Attack on Nature is Rooted in Man's Contempt for Man Since some of the powerful have turned their backs on Christ, the century now ending is impotently witnessing the death from starvation of thousands of human beings, although, paradoxically, agricultural and industrial production are on the rise; it no longer promotes moral values, which have been gradually eroded by phenomena such as drugs, corruption, unbridled consumerism and widespread hedonism; defenseless, it beholds the growing gap between poor indebted countries and others which are powerful and affluent; it continues to ignore the intrinsic perversion and terrible consequences of the "culture of death"; it promotes ecology, but ignores the fact that any attack on nature is deeply rooted in moral disorder and man's contempt for man. + Address of January 25, 1999 at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City A Courageous Commitment It was these noble motives that inspired the courageous cultural commitment of Italian Catholic jurists to opposing the divorce law in 1970, and that of abortion in 1978, as well as their valuable contribution to the issues of ecology and bioethics at a time when they were not yet an object of attention on the part of Italy's legal community. + Address of December 5, 1998 to the Union of Italian Catholic Jurists Biblical Foundations of Care for Creation The question of the environment is closely related to other important social issues, insofar as the environment embraces all that surrounds us and all upon which human life depends. Hence the importance of a correct approach to the question. In this regard, reflection on the biblical foundations of care for the created world can clarify the obligation to promote a sound and healthy environment. The use of the earth's resources is another crucial aspect of the environmental question. A study of this complex problem goes to the very heart of the organization of modern society. Reflecting on the environment in the light of Sacred Scripture and the social teaching of the Church, we cannot but raise the question of the very style of life promoted by modern society, and in particular the question of the uneven way in which the benefits of progress are distributed. + Message of John Paul II to the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, November 4, 1999 Human Beings are Appointed by God as Stewards of the Earth "O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen" (Rom 11,33.36). With this hymn of praise, presented again in today's liturgy, St Paul ends the first part of his Letter to the Romans. Before the wonder of divine providence manifested in creation and in history, the human creature feels very small. At the same time, the human creature recognizes that he is the one who receives the message of love inviting him to responsibility. Human beings are appointed by God as stewards of the earth to cultivate and protect it. From this fact there comes what we might call their "ecological vocation", which in our time has become more urgent than ever. + ANGELUS, Castel Gandolfo, Sunday, 25 August 2002 Table of Creation     This Lord, whose supreme proof of love we celebrate this Easter, was with the Father from the beginning preparing the wonderful table of creation to which He meant to invite all without exception (John 1.3). The Church has understood this truth made known since the dawn of Revelation, and she sees it as an objective to be proposed to people as a way of life (Acts 2.44-45, 4.32-35). In more recent times, she has repeatedly preached the universal destination of the goods of creation, both material and spiritual, as a central theme of her social teaching. Continuing this long-standing tradition, the encyclical Centesimus Annus ... is meant to encourage reflection on this universal destination of goods, which comes before all particular forms of private property and which should give them their true meaning. However, it is sad to see how, in spite of the frequency with which these truths have been proclaimed, the earth with all its goods–which we have compared to a great banquet to which all men and women have been invited–is unfortunately, in many ways, still in the hands of a few minorities. Wonderful are the goods of the earth, both those which come directly from the hands of the Creator and those which are the result of the activity of human beings called to cooperate in the work of creation through their intelligence and labor. It is thus painful to note how many millions of people are excluded from the table of creation. For those people and for all the dispossessed of the world, we must work hard and without delay so that they can occupy their proper place at the table of creation. + Lenten Message, 1992 Burning Problem of Ecology    We make an appeal that everyone will make a determined effort to solve the current burning problem of ecology, in order to avoid the great risk threatening the world today due to the abuse of resources that are God's gift. + Common Declaration Signed in the Vatican by Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Bartholomew I, June 29, 1995 © Copyright 1978 Libreria Editrice Vaticana More quotes by Saint John Paul II ->  
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