Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center
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Pope Francis: Quotes on Ecology and the Environment (page 2)
Don’t Forget the Poor Some people wanted to know why the Bishop of Rome wished to be called Francis. Some thought of Francis Xavier, Francis De Sales, and also Francis of Assisi. I will tell you the story. During the election, I was seated next to the Archbishop Emeritus of São Paolo and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes: a good friend, a good friend! When things were looking dangerous, he encouraged me. And when the votes reached two thirds, there was the usual applause, because the Pope had been elected. And he gave me a hug and a kiss, and said: “Don't forget the poor!” And those words came to me: the poor, the poor. Then, right away, thinking of the poor, I thought of Francis of Assisi. Then I thought of all the wars, as the votes were still being counted, till the end. Francis is also the man of peace. That is how the name came into my heart: Francis of Assisi. For me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation; these days we do not have a very good relationship with creation, do we? He is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man … How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor! + Address to Journalists, March 18, 2013 We Must Love and Protect Creation The Church is likewise conscious of the responsibility which all of us have for our world, for the whole of creation, which we must love and protect. There is much that we can do to benefit the poor, the needy and those who suffer, and to favor justice, promote reconciliation and build peace. But before all else we need to keep alive in our world the thirst for the absolute, and to counter the dominance of a one-dimensional vision of the human person, a vision which reduces human beings to what they produce and to what they consume: this is one of the most insidious temptations of our time. + AUDIENCE WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CHURCHES AND ECCLESIAL COMMUNITIES AND OF THE DIFFERENT RELIGIONS, ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER POPE FRANCIS, March 20, 2013 Think of Saint Francis Fighting poverty, both material and spiritual, building peace and constructing bridges: these, as it were, are the reference points for a journey that I want to invite each of the countries here represented to take up. But it is a difficult journey, if we do not learn to grow in love for this world of ours. Here too, it helps me to think of the name of Francis, who teaches us profound respect for the whole of creation and the protection of our environment, which all too often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to one another’s detriment. + AUDIENCE WITH THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS ACCREDITED TO THE HOLY SEE, ADDRESS OF POPE FRANCIS, March 22, 2013 Creation is a Gift Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude”. + General Audience Address, March 21, 2014 Protect Christ in Our Lives Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation! The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts! Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are “Herods” who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women. Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world! But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness! Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness. In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness! + MASS, IMPOSITION OF THE PALLIUM AND BESTOWAL OF THE FISHERMAN'S RING FOR THE BEGINNING OF THE PETRINE MINISTRY OF THE BISHOP OF ROME, HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS, March 19, 2013 Take Care of Creation Take good care of creation. St. Francis wanted that. People occasionally forgive, but nature never does. If we don’t take care of the environment, there’s no way of getting around it. + Meeting with President of Ecuador, April 22, 2013 Show Concern for the Environment A second key area where you are called to make a contribution is in showing concern for the environment. This is not only because this country, more than many others, is likely to be seriously affected by climate change. You are called to care for creation not only as responsible citizens, but also as followers of Christ! Respect for the environment means more than simply using cleaner products or recycling what we use. These are important aspects, but not enough. We need to see, with the eyes of faith, the beauty of God’s saving plan, the link between the natural environment and the dignity of the human person. Men and women are made in the image and likeness of God, and given dominion over creation (cf. Gen 1:26-28). As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling. Three months ago, your Bishops addressed these issues in a prophetic Pastoral Letter. They asked everyone to think about the moral dimension of our activities and lifestyles, our consumption and our use of the earth’s resources. Today I ask you to do this in the context of your own lives and your commitment to the building up of Christ’s kingdom. Dear young people, the just use and stewardship of the earth’s resources is an urgent task, and you have an important contribution to make. You are the future of the Philippines. Be concerned about what is happening to your beautiful land! + MEETING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE, ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS, Santo Tomás University, Manila, January 18, 2015 The Struggle Against Global Warming What you are going to debate affects the whole of humanity, in particular the poorest and future generations. More than that, it is a grave ethical and moral responsibility. It is significant that the Conference is being held on the coasts adjacent to the Humbolt maritime current, which unites in a symbolic embrace the peoples of America, Oceania and Asia and which has a determinant role in the climate of the whole planet. The consequences of environmental changes, which are already felt in a dramatic way in many States, especially the insular ones of the Pacific, remind us of the gravity of negligence and inaction. The time to find global solutions is running out. We will only be able to find adequate solutions if we act together and in agreement. Hence, there is a clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to act. The effective struggle against global warming will only be possible with a responsible collective answer, that goes beyond particular interests and behavior and is developed free of political and economic pressures. It is only possible with a collective answer that is able to overcome attitudes of mistrust and to promote a culture of solidarity, of encounter and of dialogue able to show the responsibility to protect the planet and the human family. It is my heartfelt wish that in the Lima Conference, as well as in the subsequent meetings, which will be decisive for the negotiations on climate, there is a dialogue permeated by this culture and by the values that it holds: justice, respect and equity. + Pope's Message to UN Convention on Climate Change, November 27, 2014 Jesus on the Cross Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money that you can’t take with you and have to leave. When we were small, our grandmother used to say: a shroud has no pocket. Love of power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation! And – as each one of us knows and is aware - our personal sins: our failures in love and respect towards God, towards our neighbor and towards the whole of creation. Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Jesus does for us on the throne of the Cross. Christ’s Cross embraced with love never leads to sadness, but to joy, to the joy of having been saved and of doing a little of what he did on the day of his death. + HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS, XXVIII World Youth Day, March 24, 2013 Climate Change Agreement is Urgently Needed This is likewise my own hope-filled prayer for this new year, which, for that matter, will see the continuation of two significant processes: the drawing up of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, with the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals, and the drafting of a new Climate Change Agreement. The latter is urgently needed. The indispensable presupposition of all these is peace, which, even more than an end to all wars, is the fruit of heartfelt conversion. + ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO THE MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS ACCREDITED TO THE HOLY SEE, January 12, 2015 Agents of Mercy Let us accept the grace of Christ’s Resurrection! Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish. + ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO THE MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS ACCREDITED TO THE HOLY SEE, January 12, 2015 Counter a Culture of Waste with Solidarity Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! Today I want to focus on the issue of the environment, which I have already spoken of on several occasions. Today we also mark World Environment Day, sponsored by the United Nations, which sends a strong reminder of the need to eliminate the waste and disposal of food. When we talk about the environment, about creation, my thoughts turn to the first pages of the Bible, the Book of Genesis, which states that God placed man and woman on earth to cultivate and care for it (cf. 2:15). And the question comes to my mind: What does cultivating and caring for the earth mean? Are we truly cultivating and caring for creation? Or are we exploiting and neglecting it? The verb "to cultivate" reminds me of the care that the farmer has for his land so that it bear fruit, and it is shared: how much attention, passion and dedication! Cultivating and caring for creation is God’s indication given to each one of us not only at the beginning of history; it is part of His project; it means nurturing the world with responsibility and transforming it into a garden, a habitable place for everyone. Benedict XVI recalled several times that this task entrusted to us by God the Creator requires us to grasp the rhythm and logic of creation. But we are often driven by pride of domination, of possessions, manipulation, of exploitation; we do not “care” for it, we do not respect it, we do not consider it as a free gift that we must care for. We are losing the attitude of wonder, contemplation, listening to creation; thus we are no longer able to read what Benedict XVI calls "the rhythm of the love story of God and man." Why does this happen? Why do we think and live in a horizontal manner, we have moved away from God, we no longer read His signs. But to "cultivate and care" encompasses not only the relationship between us and the environment, between man and creation, it also regards human relationships. The Popes have spoken of human ecology, closely linked to environmental ecology. We are living in a time of crisis: we see this in the environment, but above all we see this in mankind. The human person is in danger: this is certain, the human person is in danger today, here is the urgency of human ecology! And it is a serious danger because the cause of the problem is not superficial but profound: it is not just a matter of economics, but of ethics and anthropology. The Church has stressed this several times, and many say, yes, that's right, it's true ... but the system continues as before, because it is dominated by the dynamics of an economy and finance that lack ethics. Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules. God our Father did not give the task of caring for the earth to money, but to us, to men and women: we have this task! Instead, men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the "culture of waste." If you break a computer it is a tragedy, but poverty, the needs, the dramas of so many people end up becoming the norm. If on a winter’s night, here nearby in Via Ottaviano, for example, a person dies, that is not news. If in so many parts of the world there are children who have nothing to eat, that's not news, it seems normal. It cannot be this way! Yet these things become the norm: that some homeless people die of cold on the streets is not news. In contrast, a ten point drop on the stock markets of some cities, is a tragedy. A person dying is not news, but if the stock markets drop ten points it is a tragedy! Thus people are disposed of, as if they were trash. This "culture of waste" tends to become the common mentality that infects everyone. Human life, the person is no longer perceived as a primary value to be respected and protected, especially if poor or disabled, if not yet useful - such as the unborn child - or no longer needed - such as the elderly. This culture of waste has made us insensitive even to the waste and disposal of food, which is even more despicable when all over the world, unfortunately, many individuals and families are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. Once our grandparents were very careful not to throw away any leftover food. Consumerism has led us to become used to an excess and daily waste of food, to which, at times, we are no longer able to give a just value, which goes well beyond mere economic parameters. We should all remember, however, that throwing food away is like stealing from the tables of the the poor, the hungry! I encourage everyone to reflect on the problem of thrown away and wasted food to identify ways and means that, by seriously addressing this issue, are a vehicle of solidarity and sharing with the needy. A few days ago, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, we read the story of the miracle of the loaves: Jesus feeds the crowd with five loaves and two fishes. And the conclusion of the piece is important: " They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets" (Lk 9:17). Jesus asks his disciples not to throw anything away: no waste! There is this fact of twelve baskets: Why twelve? What does this mean? Twelve is the number of the tribes of Israel, which symbolically represent all people. And this tells us that when food is shared in a fair way, with solidarity, when no one is deprived, every community can meet the needs of the poorest. Human ecology and environmental ecology walk together. So I would like us all to make a serious commitment to respect and protect creation, to be attentive to every person, to counter the culture of waste and disposable, to promote a culture of solidarity and of encounter. Thank you. Summary in English Dear Brothers and Sisters: Our Audience today coincides with World Environment Day, and so it is fitting to reflect on our responsibility to cultivate and care for the earth in accordance with God’s command (cf. Gen 2:15). We are called not only to respect the natural environment, but also to show respect for, and solidarity with, all the members of our human family. These two dimensions are closely related; today we are suffering from a crisis which is not only about the just management of economic resources, but also about concern for human resources, for the needs of our brothers and sisters living in extreme poverty, and especially for the many children in our world lacking adequate education, health care and nutrition. Consumerism and a “culture of waste” have led some of us to tolerate the waste of precious resources, including food, while others are literally wasting away from hunger. I ask all of you to reflect on this grave ethical problem in a spirit of solidarity grounded in our common responsibility for the earth and for all our brothers and sisters in the human family. + General Audience Address, St Peter’s Square, UN World Environment Day, June 5, 2013 Solidarity Today more than ever, I think it is necessary to educate ourselves in solidarity, to rediscover the value and meaning of this very uncomfortable word, which oftentimes has been left aside, and to make it become a basic attitude in decisions made at the political, economic and financial levels, in relationships between persons, peoples and nations. It is only in standing firmly united, by overcoming selfish ways of thinking and partisan interests, that the objective of eliminating forms of indigence determined by a lack of food will also be achieved. A solidarity that is not reduced to different forms of welfare, but which makes an effort to ensure that an ever greater number of persons are economically independent. Many steps have been taken in different countries, but we are still far from a world where all can live with dignity. 2. The theme chosen by the FAO for this year’s celebration is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”. I see in it an invitation to rethink and renew our food systems from a perspective of solidarity, by overcoming the logic of an unbridled exploitation of creation and by better orienting our commitment to cultivate and care for the environment and its resources, in order to guarantee food security and progress toward sufficient and healthy food for all. This poses a serious question about the need to substantially modify our lifestyle, including the way we eat which, in so many areas of the planet, is marked by consumerism and the waste and squandering of food. The data provided by FAO indicates that approximately one third of the global production of food is not available due to increasing loss and wastefulness. Eliminating this waste would drastically reduce the number of people suffering from hunger. Our parents taught us to appreciate what we receive and have and to regard it as a precious gift of God. However, wasting food is only one of the fruits of the “culture of waste” which often leads to sacrificing men and women to the idols of profit and consumption. It is a sad sign of the “globalization of indifference” which slowly leads us to grow “accustomed” to the suffering of others, as though it were normal. The challenge of hunger and malnutrition does not only have an economic or scientific dimension which regards the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the food supply chain; it also and above all has an ethical and anthropological dimension. To educate in solidarity therefore means to educate ourselves in humanity: to build a society that is truly human means to put the person and his or her dignity at the centre, always, and never to sell him out to the logic of profit. The human being and his dignity are “pillars on which to build shared regulations and structures that, by overcoming pragmatism or the mere technical data, are capable of eliminating divisions and of narrowing existing gaps” (cf. Address to Participants in the 38th Session of the FAO, 20 June 2013). 3. The International Year that through the FAO’s initiative will be dedicated to the rural family is just around the corner. This event offers me the opportunity to propose a third element for reflection: education in solidarity and in a way of life that overcomes the “culture of waste” and truly places each person and his or her dignity at the centre, beginning with the family. It is from this first formative community that we learn to take care of others, for the good of the other and to love the harmony of creation and to share and enjoy its fruits, by fostering reasonable, balanced and sustainable consumption. To support and protect the family so that it educates in solidarity and respect, is a decisive step in moving towards a more equitable and humane society. + MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS FOR WORLD FOOD DAY 2013 Water is the Most Essential Element Today marks the World Water Day promoted by the United Nations. Water is the most essential element for life, and the future of humanity depends on our capacity to guard it and share it. I therefore encourage the International Community to be vigilant so as to ensure that the planet’s waters be adequately protected and that no one be excluded or discriminated against in the use of this resource, which is a resource par excellence. With St Francis of Assisi, we say: “Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water, she is very useful and humble and precious and pure” (Canticle of the Sun). + ANGELUS, March 22, 2015 The Gift of Knowledge Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning! Today I would like to highlight another gift of the Holy Spirit: the gift of knowledge. When we speak of knowledge, we immediately think of man’s capacity to learn more and more about the reality that surrounds him and to discover the laws that regulate nature and the universe. The knowledge that comes from the Holy Spirit, however, is not limited to human knowledge; it is a special gift, which leads us to grasp, through creation, the greatness and love of God and his profound relationship with every creature. 1. When our eyes are illumined by the Spirit, they open to contemplate God, in the beauty of nature and in the grandeur of the cosmos, and they lead us to discover how everything speaks to us about Him and His love. All of this arouses in us great wonder and a profound sense of gratitude! It is the sensation we experience when we admire a work of art or any marvel whatsoever that is borne of the genius and creativity of man: before all this, the Spirit leads us to praise the Lord from the depths of our heart and to recognize, in all that we have and all that we are, an invaluable gift of God and a sign of his infinite love for us. 2. In the first Chapter of Genesis, right at the beginning of the Bible, what is emphasized is that God is pleased with his creation, stressing repeatedly the beauty and goodness of every single thing. At the end of each day, it is written: “God saw that it was good” (1:12, 18, 21, 25): if God sees creation as good, as a beautiful thing, then we too must take this attitude and see that creation is a good and beautiful thing. Now, this is the gift of knowledge that allows us to see this beauty, therefore we praise God, giving thanks to him for having granted us so much beauty. And when God finished creating man he didn't say “he saw that this was good”, but said that this was “very good” (v. 31). In the eyes of God we are the most beautiful thing, the greatest, the best of creation: even the Angels are beneath us, we are more than the angels, as we heard in the Book of Psalms. The Lord favours us! We must give thanks to him for this. The gift of knowledge sets us in profound harmony with the Creator and allows us to participate in the clarity of his vision and his judgement. And it is in this perspective that we manage to accept man and woman as the summit of creation, as the fulfillment of a plan of love that is impressed in each one of us and that allows us to recognize one another as brothers and sisters. 3. All this is a source of serenity and peace and makes the Christian a joyful witness of God, in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi and so many saints who knew how to praise and laud his love through the contemplation of creation. At the same time, however, the gift of knowledge helps us not to fall into attitudes of excess or error. The first lies in the risk of considering ourselves the masters of creation. Creation is not some possession that we can lord over for our own pleasure; nor, even less, is it the property of only some people, the few: creation is a gift, it is the marvellous gift that God has given us, so that we will take care of it and harness it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude. The second erroneous attitude is represented by the temptation to stop at creatures, as if these could provide the answer to all our expectations. With the gift of knowledge, the Spirit helps us not to fall into this error. But I would like to return to the first of these incorrect paths: tyranny over rather than the custody of creation. We must protect creation for it is a gift which the Lord has given us, it is God’s present to us; we are the guardians of creation. When we exploit creation, we destroy that sign of God’s love. To destroy creation is to say to God: “I don’t care”. And this is not good: this is sin. Custody of creation is precisely custody of God’s gift and it is saying to God: “thank you, I am the guardian of creation so as to make it progress, never to destroy your gift”. This must be our attitude to creation: guard it for if we destroy creation, creation will destroy us! Don’t forget that. Once I was in the countryside and I heard a saying from a simple person who had a great love for flowers and took care of them. He said to me: “We must take care of the beautiful things that God has given us! Creation is ours so that we can receive good things from it; not exploit it, to protect it. God forgives always, we men forgive sometimes, but creation never forgives and if you don’t care for it, it will destroy you”. This should make us think and should make us ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of knowledge in order to understand better that creation is a most beautiful gift of God. He has done many good things for the thing that is most good: the human person. + GENERAL AUDIENCE, May 21, 2014 Put Human Dignity at the Center Land. At the beginning of creation, God created man and woman, stewards of his work, mandating them to till and to keep it (cf. Gn 2:15). I notice dozens of farmworkers (campesinos) here, and I want to congratulate you for caring for the land, for cultivating it and for doing so in community. The elimination of so many brothers and sisters campesinos worries me, and it is not because of wars or natural disasters that they are uprooted. Land and water grabbing, deforestation, unsuitable pesticides are some of the evils which uproot people from their native land. This wretched separation is not only physical but existential and spiritual as well because there is a relationship with the land, such that rural communities and their special way of life are being put at flagrant risk of decline and even of extinction... An economic system centered on the god of money also needs to plunder nature, to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity, deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness, and you are the ones who suffer most, the humble, those who live near coasts in precarious dwellings or who are so vulnerable economically that, in face of a natural disaster, lose everything. Brothers and sisters: creation is not a property, which we can dispose of at will; much less so is it the property of a some, of a few: creation is a gift, it is a present, a wonderful gift that God has given us to take care of and to use for the benefit of all, always with respect and gratitude. Perhaps you know that I am preparing an encyclical on Ecology: be sure that your concerns will be present in it. I thank you, I take the opportunity to thank you for the letter I received from the members of the Rural Way, the Federation of Cardboard Dwellers and so many other brothers in this respect. We talk of the earth, of work, of a roof … we talk about working for peace and taking care of nature. However, instead of that, why do we get used to seeing how fitting work is destroyed, how so many families are dismissed, how rural workers are expelled, how war is engaged in and nature is abused. Why has man, the human person been taken out of this system, out of the center and been replaced by something else. Why is idolatrous worship rendered to money. Why has indifference been globalized! Indifference has been globalized: why should I care what happens to others so long as I can defend my own? Why has the world forgotten God who is Father; it has become an orphan because it left God to one side. Some of you said: this system can no longer be endured. We must change it; we must put human dignity again at the center and on that pillar build the alternative social structures we need. It must be done with courage, but also with intelligence, with tenacity but without fanaticism, with passion but without violence. And among us all, addressing the conflicts without being trapped in them, always seeking to resolve the tensions to reach a higher plane of unity, peace and justice. We, Christians, have something very lovely, a guide of action, we could say a revolutionary program. I earnestly recommend that you read it, that you read the Beatitudes that are in chapter 5 of Saint Matthew and 6 of Saint Luke (cf. Matthew 5:3 and Luke 6:20) and that you read the passage of Matthew 25. I said it to the young people at Rio de Janeiro, with those two things you have the plan of action. + Address to the World Meeting of Popular Movements, October 28, 2014 © Copyright 2013 Libreria Editrice Vaticana Read more ->  
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