Pope: We have sinned against the earth, against our neighbors, and ultimately against the Creator. It is imperative for humanity to re-establish a harmonious relationship with the earth.

 

Pope Francis urges protection of “our garden-home”, the earth. Pope Francis urges protection of “our garden-home”, the earth.  

Pope: common action needed to protect “our garden-home”

By Robin Gomes, Vatican News
Holding his weekly general audience on the 50th Earth Day on Wednesday, Pope Francis called for common action and ecological conversion that lead to a deeper love for our common home and our brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable.

Celebrating the 50th Earth Day on Tuesday, Pope Francis pointed out that the tragic coronavirus pandemic has taught us that we can overcome global challenges only by showing solidarity with one another and embracing the most vulnerable in our midst.

Biblical origins

The Pope, who dedicated his 2015 enclyclical, “Laudato Si”, to the care of the created world, noted that we are fashioned from the earth and that the earth sustains our life.  As the book of Genesis reminds us, we are not simply “earthly”; we also bear within us the ‘breath of life’ that comes from God.  Thus, he said, we live in this common home as one human family in biodiversity with God’s other creatures.

As the ‘image of God’, the Pope said, we are called to care for and respect all creatures, and to offer love and compassion to our brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable among us, in imitation of God’s love for us, manifested in his Son Jesus.

Selfishness

However, because of our selfishness, we have failed in our responsibility to be guardians and stewards of the earth. We have polluted and despoiled it, endangering our very lives.  In this regard, the Pope expressed appreciation for the various international and local movements who are appealing to our consciences.  Our children, he said, have taken to the streets to teach us that “we have no future if we destroy the very environment that sustains us”.

“Gospel of Creation”, “our garden-home”

By failing to care for “our garden-home”, the earth,  and our brothers and sisters, the Pope said, we have sinned against the earth, against our neighbours, and ultimately against the Creator.  Hence,

we need to look at our common home, the earth, in a new way, in order to restore a harmonious relationship with the earth and with the rest of humanity. 

We should not regard the earth as a “storehouse of resources for us to exploit”.  For believers, the Pope said, the natural world is the “Gospel of Creation” as it expresses God’s creative power in fashioning human life and bringing the world and all it contains into existence, in order to sustain humanity. 

The Pope called on all to renew their sense of sacred respect for the earth, saying “is not just our home but also God’s home”, and that ‘we stand on holy ground’.

In this regard, he held up the indigenous people as a model saying, “they teach us that we cannot heal the earth unless we love and respect it”.

Ecological conversion and common action

Pope Francis said that an ecological conversion with concrete actions is needed in order to avert the threats to our common home.   In this regard, he asked leaders to guide the preparations for two important international conferences: COP15 on Biodiversity in Kunming, China [October 2020], and COP26 on Climate Change in Glasgow, UK [November 2020].

At the local and national levels, the Pope encouraged the creation of a popular movement “from below”, noting that the Earth Day was born this way.

**

Pope at General Audience: This 50th Earth Day, We Must Renew Sacred Respect for the Earth (Full Text)

Appeals for Ecological Conversion through Concrete Action

APRIL 22, 2020

“In today’s celebration of Earth Day,” the Pope says, “we are called to renew our sense of sacred respect for the earth, for it is not just our home but also God’s home.

Doing so, he underscored, “should make us all the more aware that we stand on holy ground!”

Noting this is an occasion for renewing our commitment to love and care for our common home and for the weaker members of our human family, the Pontiff observed that “the tragic coronavirus pandemic has taught us, we can overcome global challenges only by showing solidarity with one another and embracing the most vulnerable in our midst.”

Francis noted that his Encyclical on the environment Laudato Si’ deals precisely with this “Care for our Common Home,” underscoring: “We must grow in our awareness of care for our common home.”

The Pontiff decried that we have failed to care for the earth, and failed to care for our brothers and sisters.

“We have sinned against the earth, against our neighbours, and ultimately against the Creator, who provides for everyone, and desires us to live in communion and flourish together.”

To emphasize the gravity of this, Francis departed from his text to ask: “And how does the earth react? There is a Spanish saying that is very clear,” he noted, “it says: ‘God forgives always; we men forgive sometimes; the earth never forgives’. The earth never forgives: if we have despoiled the earth, the response will be very bad.”

Underscoring our individual responsibility, and how we ought to work to restore harmony between humanity and the environment, Francis called for “an ecological conversion that can find expression in concrete actions.

“As a single and interdependent family, we require a common plan in order to avert the threats to our common home,” he said.

“In this Easter season of renewal,” Pope Francis encouraged, “let us pledge to love and esteem the beautiful gift of the earth, our common home, and to care for all.”

Below is the Vatican-provided English translation of the Pope’s address this morning:

* * *

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today we celebrate the fiftieth Earth Day. This is an occasion for renewing our commitment to love and care for our common home and for the weaker members of our human family. As the tragic coronavirus pandemic has taught us, we can overcome global challenges only by showing solidarity with one another and embracing the most vulnerable in our midst. The Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ deals precisely with this “Care for our Common Home”. Today, let us reflect together a little on that responsibility which characterises “our earthly sojourn” (Laudato Si’, 160). We must grow in our awareness of care for our common home.

We are fashioned from the earth, and fruit of the earth sustains our life. But, as the book of Genesis reminds us, we are not simply “earthly”; we also bear within us the breath of life that comes from God (cf. Gen 2:4-7). Thus we live in this common home as one human family in biodiversity with God’s other creatures. As imago Dei, image of God, we are called to have care and respect for all creatures, and to offer love and compassion to our brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable among us, in imitation of God’s love for us, manifested in his Son Jesus, who made Himself man to share this situation with us and to save us.

Because of our selfishness we have failed in our responsibility to be guardians and stewards of the earth. “We need only take a frank look at the facts to see that our common home is falling into serious disrepair” (ibid., 61). We have polluted and we have despoiled it, endangering our very lives. For this reason, various international and local movements have sprung up in order to appeal to our consciences. I deeply appreciate these initiatives; still it will be necessary for our children to take to the streets to teach us the obvious: we have no future if we destroy the very environment that sustains us.

We have failed to care for the earth, our garden-home; we have failed to care for our brothers and sisters. We have sinned against the earth, against our neighbours, and ultimately against the Creator, who provides for everyone, and desires us to live in communion and flourish together. And how does the earth react? There is a Spanish saying that is very clear, in this; it says: “God forgives always; we men forgive sometimes; the earth never forgives”. The earth never forgives: if we have despoiled the earth, the response will be very bad.

How can we restore a harmonious relationship with the earth and with the rest of humanity? A harmonious relationship… Very often we lose our view of harmony: harmony is the work of the Holy Spirit. In the common home, on earth, too; also in our relationship with people, with our neighbour, with the poor, how can we restore this harmony? We need a new way of looking at our common home. Let us be clear: it is not a storehouse of resources for us to exploit. For us believers, the natural world is the “Gospel of Creation”: it expresses God’s creative power in fashioning human life and bringing the world and all it contains into existence, in order to sustain humanity. As the biblical account of creation concludes: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gen 1:31). We we see these natural tragedies that are the earth’s response to our mistreatment, I think: “If I ask the Lord now what He thinks, I don’t think He will tell me something very good”. We are the ones who have ruined the work of the Lord!

In today’s celebration of Earth Day, we are called to renew our sense of sacred respect for the earth, for it is not just our home but also God’s home. This should make us all the more aware that we stand on holy ground!

Dear brothers and sisters, “let us awaken our God-given aesthetic and contemplative sense” (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia, 56). The prophetic gift of contemplation is something that we can learn especially from indigenous peoples. They teach us that we cannot heal the earth unless we love and respect it. They have that wisdom of “living well”, not in the sense of having a good time, no, but of living in harmony with the earth. They call this harmony “good living”.

At the same time, we need an ecological conversion that can find expression in concrete actions. As a single and interdependent family, we require a common plan in order to avert the threats to our common home. “Interdependence obliges us to think of one world with a common plan” (Laudato Si’, 164). We are aware of the importance of cooperation as an international community for the protection of our common home. I urge those in positions of leadership to guide the preparations for two important international Conferences: COP15 on Biodiversity in Kunming, China, and COP26 on Climate Change in Glasgow, United Kingdom. These two meetings are very important.

I would like to support concerted action also on the national and local levels. It will help if people at all levels of society come together to create a popular movement “from below”. The Earth Day we are celebrating today was itself born in precisely this way. We can each contribute in our own small way. “We need not think that these efforts are going to change the world. They benefit society, often unbeknown to us, for they call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread” (Laudato Si’, 212).

In this Easter season of renewal, let us pledge to love and esteem the beautiful gift of the earth, our common home, and to care for all members of our human family. Like the brothers and sisters that we are, let us together implore our heavenly Father: “Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth” (cf. Ps 104:30).

 

John 3: 16-17

God so loved the world (world, cosmos)

To save, deliver out of danger and into safety; rescue; heal; make well, restore to health

Suspect in Dorothy Stang’s murder has been arrested

Pope chose the date of Notre Dame Sister’s 2005 death in Brazil for publication of Querida Amazonia

 

Suspect in Dorothy Stang's murder has been arrested

Margaret Stang (L) sister of U.S. nun Dorothy Stang who was murdered in the Amazon region of Para, in Brazil, attends the first day of the trial of her sister’s alleged killers on Dec. 9, 2005, in Belem, Brazil. UN representatives and human rights’ groups are observing the trial. (Photo by EPA/OSWALDO FORTE/MaxPPP)

Another suspect in the murder of Sister Dorothy Stang, the American-born woman religious who was killed in Brazil in 2005 for her struggle for the landless and the Amazon, was arrested near Sao Paulo, Brazilian military police have announced.

The man, whose identity was not disclosed and with whom the police found false papers, was arrested after he was recognized on a street in a small town 3,000 km from the scene of the murder.

The arrest comes at a time when the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) — to which Stang was very committed — had just denounced a 14% increase in murders and a 22% increase in death threats linked to land conflicts in the Brazilian countryside.

Seven indigenous leaders were also murdered in 2019.

“Jair Bolsonaro’s rhetoric encourages those who want to illegally occupy land,” said Jeane Bellini, CPT coordinator, in accusing the Brazilian president of stoking the violence.

Defender of the poor and the environment

Dorothy Stang was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1931. She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in the United States in 1948 and then joined the order’s province in Brazil (where she eventually became a naturalized citizen) in 1966.

She became an outspoken advocate of the poor and the environment, for which she received death threats from loggers and land owners. Stang was 73 years old when she was killed on Feb. 12, 2005.

Pope Francis chose the date to issue his 2020 post-synodal apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia, thus marking the 15th anniversary of Sister Dorothy’s assassination.

“We have sinned against the earth”

During his general audience this past Wednesday — which was also Earth Day — the pope once again denounced the depredation of the environment, which was a deep concern for Stang.

“Because of our selfishness we have failed in our responsibility to be guardians and stewards of the earth. We have polluted and we have despoiled it, endangering our very lives,” he said.

“We have failed to care for the earth, our garden-home; we have failed to care for our brothers and sisters. We have sinned against the earth, against our neighbors, and ultimately against the Creator,” Francis continued.

He said it is imperative for humanity to re-establish “a harmonious relationship with the earth”.

**

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