By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
1/28/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
A statement from the Vatican reveals that Pope Francis has begun work on an encyclical covering the topic of ecology. The Vatican has long regarded the environment an important gift from God, and the source of raw material and sustenance from which humans draw life. Proper stewardship of the Earth's gifts are an important part of the Catholic mission.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Dubbed by some as "creation care" stewardship of the natural environment is important to our well being as humans. It is also a sacred obligation. Now, according to a Vatican statement released last Friday, Pope Francis is working on an encyclical about ecology.
Creation encompasses everything around us, and of particular concern is the environment and naturally, people themselves. The environment is important because all people rely on the environment for their sustenance. The environment provides us with many gifts from food, to shelter, to clothing, and the wealth we hew from the Earth.
St. Francis is the patron saint of the environment.
Sometimes however, we can become so intent on wealth that we take more from the environment than is prudent or we leave the environment much worse for the wear. Such behavior shows disrespect for creation and often results in harm to others.
This is at the core of Pope Francis' messages. That humans are important and we should not undermine their well being by misuse of God's natural gifts to us. Our natural resources should be responsibly managed and used to sustain healthy human lives and to glorify God.
Misuse of the environment is also closely related to the issue of poverty. The poor are dear to Pope Francis' heart.
In the United States, ecological conservation is seen as an issue of the "left" and has been co-opted by the liberal movement. As such, calls for responsible stewardship of natural resources and conservation can be unpopular with those who identify with political conservatism. However, this is a hijacking of an issue that rightfully belongs to conservatives (conservative should equal conservation).
The environment is a Catholic issue. A stable, productive environment, conserved in places where it should be conserved and managed in places where it should be managed, leads to people who enjoy food, shelter, and employment consistent with a reasonable standard of living. Unfortunately, there are many who are all too willing to exploit the poor as well as the land for their immediate gain.
It is expected that the encyclical, still in its early stages, will strike at the heart of this issue and call all Catholics to a deeper understanding of ecology and our role within it as a greater part of creation.
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