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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Ecology (Page 2)
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Pope Benedict Preaches Environmental Protection at World Youth Day SYDNEY, Australia, July 17, 2008 (ENS) - Pope Benedict XVI opened the official portion of his first visit to Australia today by reminding everyone at the Government House welcoming ceremony of "the need to protect the environment." "With many thousands of young people visiting Australia at this time, it is appropriate to reflect upon the kind of world we are handing on to future generations," the Pope said. "In the words of your national anthem, this land "abounds in nature's gifts, of beauty rich and rare.'" "The wonder of God's creation reminds us of the need to protect the environment and to exercise responsible stewardship of the goods of the earth," he said. "In this connection I note that Australia is making a serious commitment to address its responsibility to care for the natural environment." Later in the day at Barangaroo, a waterfront renewal area in Sydney Harbour, Pope Benedict returned to his environmental message. Addressing an estimated crowd of over 150,000 pilgrims who traveled to Sydney for World Youth Day '08, the pontiff told of his feelings of awe while traveling from Europe to Australia by air. "The views afforded of our planet from the air were truly wondrous," he said. "The sparkle of the Mediterranean, the grandeur of the north African desert, the lushness of Asia's forestation, the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, the horizon upon which the sun rose and set, and the majestic splendour of Australia's natural beauty which I have been able to enjoy these last couple of days; these all evoke a profound sense of awe." "It is as though one catches glimpses of the Genesis creation story - light and darkness, the sun and the moon, the waters, the earth, and living creatures; all of which are "good" in God's eyes," said the pope. "Immersed in such beauty, who could not echo the words of the Psalmist in praise of the Creator: "how majestic is your name in all the earth?" But Pope Benedict also called attention to environmental degradation. "Perhaps reluctantly we come to acknowledge that there are also scars which mark the surface of our earth: erosion, deforestation, the squandering of the world's mineral and ocean resources in order to fuel an insatiable consumption," he said. "Some of you come from island nations whose very existence is threatened by rising water levels; others from nations suffering the effects of devastating drought," said the pope. "God's wondrous creation is sometimes experienced as almost hostile to its stewards, even something dangerous. How can what is 'good' appear so threatening?" "My dear friends, God's creation is one and it is good. The concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity." + Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.

Pope calls for protection of environment, says creation-evolution debate is

‘absurdity’

Lorenzago di Cadore, Jul 26, 2007 / 09:52 am (CNA).- The debate between creationism and evolution is an “absurdity” since evolution can coexist with faith, said Pope Benedict XVI this week while vacationing in the mountains of northern Italy. While there is much scientific proof to support evolution, the theory cannot exclude a role by God, he said according to MSNBC News. “They are presented as alternatives that exclude each other,” the Pope said. “This clash is an absurdity because on one hand there is much scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such.” However, evolution does not answer all of the great philosophical questions, he said, including: Where does everything come from? The Pope’s comments came during a question and answer session with a group of 400 priests, deacons, and seminarians from the region where he is vacationing. In his responses he also spoke about the need to care for the Earth. He urged people to listen to “the voice of the Earth” or risk destroying its very existence. “We cannot simply do what we want with this Earth of ours, with what has been entrusted to us,” said the Pope. World religions have shown a growing interest in the environment, particularly the ramifications of climate change, he noted. “We must respect the interior laws of creation, of this Earth, to learn these laws and obey them if we want to survive.” “This obedience to the voice of the Earth is more important for our future happiness ... than the desires of the moment. Our Earth is talking to us and we must listen to it and decipher its message if we want to survive,” he stated.

"The Green Pope" 

By Daniel Stone | Newsweek Web Exclusive April 17, 2008 It may be known for sending out iconic smoke signals when a new pope is elected, but the Vatican is actually the world's only sovereign state that can lay claim to being carbon-neutral. That means that all greenhouse gas emissions from the Holy See are offset through renewable energies and carbon credits. Last summer the city-state's ancient buildings were outfitted with solar panels intended to be a key source of electricity, and an eco-restoration firm donated enough trees in a Hungarian national park to nullify all carbon emitted from Vatican City, which takes up one-fifth of a square mile. Both moves were embraced by Pope Benedict XVI, who not only oversees the global church, he serves as the chief administrator of the operation of the Vatican. And in both religious and secular circles Benedict has earned the title of "green pope." In addition to boosting efforts to make Vatican City more environmentally efficient, he also uses Roman Catholic doctrine to emphasize humanity's responsibility to care for the planet. Benedict is not the first pope to address the issue of environmental degradation. His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, once described environmental concerns as a "moral issue" and noted as far back as 1990 that people have "a grave responsibility to preserve [the earth's] order for the well-being of future generations." However, the new pontiff has made being green a central part of his teachings and policy-making. Just months after being elected pope, Benedict stated in his first homily as pontiff that "the earth's treasures have been made to serve the powers of exploitation and destruction" and called on Catholics to be better stewards of God's creation. Last spring at a Vatican conference devoted to climate change, Benedict announced that global citizens have to "focus on the needs of sustainable development." That message was taken a step further when the church last month announced seven new sins that now require repentance. Number four on the list was "polluting the environment." Among the others were "causing social injustice" and "becoming obscenely wealthy," which are also both linked to taking care of the earth, says a Vatican spokesman. © 2008 Newsweek LLC   Pope Benedict XVI on the temptations of Jesus and today's moral posturing   Mathew and Luke recount three temptations of Jesus that reflect the inner struggle over his own particular mission and, at the same time, address the question as to what truly matters in human life. At the heart of all temptations, as we see here, is the act of pushing God aside because we perceive him as secondary, if not actually superfluous and annoying, in comparison with all the apparently far more urgent matters that fill our lives. Constructing a world by our own lights, without reference to God, building on our own foundation; refusing to acknowledge the reality of anything beyond the political and material, while setting God aside as an illusion - that is the temptation that threatens us in many varied forms.   Moral posturing is part and parcel of temptation. It does not invite us directly to do evil - no, that would be far too blatant. It pretends to show us a better way, where we finally abandon our illusions and throw ourselves into the work of actually making the world a better place. It claims, moreover, to speak for true realism: What's real is what is right there in front of us - power and bread. By comparison, the things of God fade into unreality, into a secondary world that no one really needs. The three temptations are identical in Matthew and Luke, but the sequence is different. We will follow Matthew's sequence... The devil takes the Lord in a vision onto a high mountain. He shows him all the kingdoms of the earth and their splendor and offers him kingship over the world...  [Jesus gives] an unbelievably harsh answer: "Get behind me Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men" (Mt 16:23). ...The interpretation of Christianity as a recipe for progress and the proclamation of universal prosperity as the real goal of all religions, including Christianity - this is the modern form of the same temptation. Jesus, however, repeats to us what he said in reply to Satan, what he said to Peter, and what he explained further to the disciples of Emmaus: No kingdom of this world is the Kingdom of God, the total condition of mankind's salvation. Earthly kingdoms remain earthly human kingdoms, and anyone who claims to be able to establish the perfect world is the willing dupe of Satan and plays the world right into his hands. Now, it is true that this leads to the great question: What did Jesus actually bring, if not world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world? What has he brought? The answer is very simple: God. He has brought God, and now we know his face, now we can call upon him. Now we know the path that we human beings have to take in this world." + From the book, "Jesus of Nazareth" (2007)   A True Cosmic Liturgy   However a difficult question remains, one I cannot answer at length at this moment: why was it necessary to suffer to save the world? It was necessary because there exists in the world an ocean of evil, of injustice, hatred, and violence, and the many victims of hatred and injustice have the right to see justice done. God cannot ignore the cries of the suffering who are oppressed by injustice. To forgive is not to ignore, but to transform. God must enter into this world in order to set against the ocean of injustice a larger ocean of goodness and of love. And this is the event of the Cross: from that moment, against the ocean of evil, there exists a river that is boundless, and so ever mightier than all the injustices of the world, a river of goodness, truth, and love. Thus God forgives, coming into the world and transforming it so that there may be a real strength, a river of goodness wider than all the evil that could ever exist. So our address to God becomes an address to ourselves: God invites us to join with him, to leave behind the ocean of evil, of hatred, violence, and selfishness and to make ourselves known, to enter into the river of his love. This is precisely the content of the first part of the prayer that follows: "Let Your Church offer herself to You as a living and holy sacrifice". This request, addressed to God, is made also to ourselves. It is a reference to two passages from the Letter to the Romans. We ourselves, with our whole being, must be adoration and sacrifice, and by transforming our world, give it back to God. The role of the priesthood is to consecrate the world so that it may become a living host, a liturgy: so that the liturgy may not be something alongside the reality of the world, but that the world itself shall become a living host, a liturgy. This is also the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: in the end we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host. And let us pray the Lord to help us become priests in this sense, to aid in the transformation of the world, in adoration of God, beginning with ourselves. That our lives may speak of God, that our lives may be a true liturgy, an announcement of God, a door through which the distant God may become the present God, and a true giving of ourselves to God. + Homily, Cathedral of Aosta, Friday, 24 July 2009   The Holy Father’s General Intention for November 2009: That all the men and women in the world, especially those who have responsibilities in the filed of politics and economics, may never fail in their commitment to safeguard creation. Safeguarding of Creation GENERAL AUDIENCE  Wednesday, 26 August 2009   Dear Brothers and Sisters, We have almost reached the end of August, which for many means the end of the summer holidays. As we pick up our usual routine, how could we not thank God for the precious gift of creation which we so enjoy, and not only during our holidays! The various phenomena of environmental degradation and natural disasters which, unfortunately, are often reported in the news remind us of the urgent need to respect nature as we should, recovering and appreciating a correct relationship with the environment in every day life. A new sensitivity to these topics that justly give rise to concern on the part of the Authorities and of public opinion is developing and is expressed in the increasing number of meetings, also at the international level. The Earth is indeed a precious gift of the Creator who, in designing its intrinsic order, has given us bearings that guide us as stewards of his creation. Precisely from within this framework, the Church considers matters concerning the environment and its protection intimately linked to the theme of integral human development. In my recent Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, I referred more than once to such questions, recalling the "pressing moral need for renewed solidarity" (n. 49) not only between countries but also between individuals, since the natural environment is given by God to everyone, and our use of it entails a personal responsibility towards humanity as a whole, and in particular towards the poor and towards future generations (cf. n. 48). Bearing in mind our common responsibility for creation (cf. n. 51), the Church is not only committed to promoting the protection of land, water and air as gifts of the Creator destined to everyone but above all she invites others and works herself to protect mankind from self-destruction. In fact, "when 'human ecology' is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits" (ibid.). Is it not true that an irresponsible use of creation begins precisely where God is marginalized or even denied? If the relationship between human creatures and the Creator is forgotten, matter is reduced to a selfish possession, man becomes the "last word", and the purpose of human existence is reduced to a scramble for the maximum number of possessions possible. The created world, structured in an intelligent way by God, is entrusted to our responsibility and though we are able to analyze it and transform it we cannot consider ourselves creation's absolute master. We are called, rather, to exercise responsible stewardship of creation, in order to protect it, to enjoy its fruits, and to cultivate it, finding the resources necessary for every one to live with dignity. Through the help of nature itself and through hard work and creativity, humanity is indeed capable of carrying out its grave duty to hand on the earth to future generations so that they too, in turn, will be able to inhabit it worthily and continue to cultivate it (cf. n. 50). For this to happen, it is essential to develop "that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God" (Message for the 2008 World Day of Peace, n. 7), recognizing that we all come from God and that we are all journeying towards him. How important it is then, that the international community and individual governments send the right signals to their citizens to succeed in countering harmful ways of treating the environment! The economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources must be recognized with transparency and borne by those who incur them, and not by other peoples or future generations. The protection of the environment, and the safeguarding of resources and of the climate, oblige all international leaders to act jointly respecting the law and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the world (cf. Caritas in Veritate, n. 50). Together we can build an integral human development beneficial for all peoples, present and future, a development inspired by the values of charity in truth. For this to happen it is essential that the current model of global development be transformed through a greater, and shared, acceptance of responsibility for creation: this is demanded not only by environmental factors, but also by the scandal of hunger and human misery. Dear brothers and sisters, let us now give thanks to the Lord and make our own the words of St Francis found in "The Canticle of All Creatures": Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord, All praise is Yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings. To you alone, Most High, do they belong,... So says St Francis. We, too, wish to pray and live in the spirit of these words. * * * To special groups: Dear Brothers and Sisters, I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, including the many altar servers, school pupils and choristers. The summer holidays have given us all the opportunity to thank God for the precious gift of creation. Taking up this theme, I wish to reflect today upon the relationship between the Creator and ourselves as guardians of his creation. In so doing I also wish to offer my support to leaders of governments and international agencies who soon will meet at the United Nations to discuss the urgent issue of climate change. The Earth is indeed a precious gift of the Creator who, in designing its intrinsic order, has given us guidelines that assist us as stewards of his creation. Precisely from within this framework, the Church considers that matters concerning the environment and its protection are intimately linked with integral human development. In my recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, I referred to such questions recalling the “pressing moral need for renewed solidarity” (no. 49) not only between countries but also between individuals, since the natural environment is given by God to everyone, and so our use of it entails a personal responsibility towards humanity as a whole, particularly towards the poor and towards future generations (cf. no. 48). How important it is then, that the international community and individual governments send the right signals to their citizens and succeed in countering harmful ways of treating the environment! The economic and social costs of using up shared resources must be recognized with transparency and borne by those who incur them, and not by other peoples or future generations. The protection of the environment, and the safeguarding of resources and of the climate, oblige all leaders to act jointly, respecting the law and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the world (cf. no. 50). Together we can build an integral human development beneficial for all peoples, present and future, a development inspired by the values of charity in truth. For this to happen it is essential that the current model of global development be transformed through a greater, and shared, acceptance of responsibility for creation: this is demanded not only by environmental factors, but also by the scandal of hunger and human misery. With these sentiments I wish to encourage all the participants in the United Nations summit to enter into their discussions constructively and with generous courage.   Indeed, we are all called to exercise responsible stewardship of creation, to use resources in such a way that every individual and community can live with dignity, and to develop “that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God” (Message for the 2008 World Day of Peace, 7)! Thank you. * * * I now address the young people, the sick and the newlyweds. In the next few days the liturgy commemorates two great Saints, St Monica and St Augustine, united on earth by kinship and in Heaven by the same destiny of glory. May their example impel you, young people, to a sincere and enthusiastic search for evangelical Truth; may it reveal to you, sick people, the redemptive value of suffering offered to God in union with the sacrifice of the Cross; may it sustain you, dear newlyweds, in the generous witness of God's freely given love.   © Copyright 2005 - Libreria Editrice Vatican Read more ->
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