Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletApril 16, 2014

Church and Ecology


“Theology, philosophy, and science all speak of a harmonious universe, of a cosmos endowed with its own integrity, its own internal, dynamic balance. This order must be respected. The human race is called to explore this order, to examine it with due care and to make use of it while safeguarding its integrity.”
(Pope John Paul II, Peace with God, Peace with All Creation)


Click on this partnership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Council of Churches USA, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and the Evangelical Environmental Network.
 



The Church and Ecology

In 1989, Pope John Paul II issued his message for World Peace Day entitled "Peace with God, Peace with All of Creation.”  Pope John Paul stated that world peace is threatened not only by war and the nuclear-arms race but also “by the plundering of natural resources and by a progressive decline in the quality of life.”

Pope Benedict XVI’s 2010 Message for the World Day of Peace, “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation,is the latest in a long tradition of Church teaching on our obligation to care for creation. Quoting Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI throughout his message, the Holy Father affirms that environmental degradation is “a wide-ranging social problem which concerns the entire human family” (# 3).

Pope John Paul continued by calling all the peoples of the world to a new sense of global interdependence in what he described as a “a morally coherent world view” in respect to the environment. The pope described the world’s ecological situation as a serious indication of the lack of respect for life, manifesting itself through widespread pollution and massive environmental destruction. There can be no peace, said Pope John Paul, without a deep respect for the integrity of creation. Calling the Earth “our common heritage, the fruits of which are for the benefit of all,” Pope John Paul urged “a more internationally coordinated approach to the management of the Earth’s goods,” and suggested a resurgence of simplicity, moderation and discipline as part of everyday life.

Pope John Paul II ends his message with mention of St. Francis of Assisi who, he says, “gives us striking witness that when we are at peace with God, we are better able to devote ourselves to building up that peace with all creation which is inseparable for peace among all God’s people.”
 
HELPFUL CHURCH SITES AND DOCUMENTS
 
Pope John Paul II's message on the Church and the environment is one of many calls by our Church leaders to deepen our respect for the integrity of the Earth. The following sites give witness to the Church's recognition that care for the Earth is a global issue, calling for interdependence and collaboration.

If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation by Pope Benedict XVI, January 10, 2010
 
Environmental Justice Program: Caring for God's Creation by the U.S. Catholic Bishops 
 
Catholic Church on Environmental Degradation, Interfacing Theology and the Natural Sciences, Marquette University
 
The National Religious Partnership for the Environment, Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Collaborative Efforts 
 
NCC Eco-Justice Program , Eco-Justice, Environmental Justice, Environment and Faith, National Council of Churches of Christ
 
The Church, the Environment and the U.N. Millennium Goals (Catholic News Service)
 
Climate Change Justice and Health by the U.S. Catholic Bishops
 
Renewing the Earth, a pastoral letter by the U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1991
 
Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good by the U.S. Catholic Bishops, 2001
 
Address of Pope Benedict XVI to the Members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 2006
 
Papal Message to the 14th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, 2006
 
 


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