Caring for Creation: A Catholic Tradition
(Materials are adapted from Catholic Relief Services,)
Care for our environment is a year-round mandate, not simply a once-a-year Earth Day activity. As we prepare to welcome Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical on care for creation, “human ecology,” we offer these reflections adapted from the Catholic Relief Services website to guide our understanding of why the Church is involved and how we can respond in faith.
Each of us has a personal responsibility to care for creation,
this precious gift which God has entrusted to us.
The Church teaches that creation is a gift from God, and that we show respect for our Creator by taking care of the environment. We also care for creation because of the relationship between the environment and our well-being, a relationship known as human ecology. Building on a long tradition of Church teaching, Pope Francis is writing and will soon release his encyclical on human ecology.
Catholic Relief Services President & CEO Dr. Carolyn Woo described Pope Francis’ stance on climate change in a recent article in The Huffington Post. She reflects that Pope Francis urges the international community to remain mindful of the effects of climate change, especially on those who are poor. She writes:
“One theme throughout Catholic social teaching is a respect for free markets as necessary for individual dignity, along with a recognition of the injustice and despair that can result from the excesses of capitalism. It is in this tradition that Pope Francis takes on climate change, not to constrict the entrepreneurial spirit that God has placed in humanity, but to ensure that the changes wrought by the over-reliance on fossil fuels do not damage our world and its communities and countries in a way that does not allow their citizens to retain their dignity, their autonomy, their God-given rights.” (Read the full article, “Pope Francis and Climate Change: A Catholic Tradition” in the Huffington Post.)
Pope Francis is not alone in advocating for care for creation. . . .
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