Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 07 March |
Saint of the Day: Sts Perpetua and Felicity
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Care of Creation is the Fruit of Holiness

Bernd-Thaller-CC

Mark Gordon - published on 09/25/14

Recent popes, Orthodox patriarch, Catholic groups insist climate change is a serious issue

The nations of the world have a “shared responsibility to protect our planet and the human family,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, said Tuesday at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York.

Leaders from around the world were on hand to offer their perspectives on solving the problem of climate change. President Obama addressed the group and touted the progress made by the United States under his plan. He also pledged to share new technical tools and study data with the international community.

On Sunday, nearly 400,000 people jammed midtown Manhattan to participate in what organizers described as a “People’s Climate March.” The event was co-sponsored by over 1,500 mainly left-of-center activist organizations and featured celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

All of this activity is a precursor to next year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference, to be held in Paris from November 30- December 11, 2015. The stated aim of that meeting is “to achieve, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.”

As it happens, 2015 is shaping up to be a big year for the environment in the Catholic Church, as well. Along with human trafficking and care for the poor, the environment has been a constant concern for Pope Francis. Now he is reportedly planning to make the environment the focus of his first solo encyclical (astute readers will recall that Lumen fidei is largely the work of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Evangelii gaudium is an apostolic exhortation, not an encyclical letter).

“Francis has already sent signals in his statements to date on ecology,” says William Patenaude, an engineer who writes at CatholicEcology.net. “He’s carrying on the same messages as his predecessors. Of course he will do so in his own delivery and with his own beautiful charm, but it will be the same message: the issue of ecology is intimately related with other moral issues, especially life issues.”

If the signals Patenaude alludes to are any guide, the new encyclical will likely reprise several now-familiar “Franciscan” themes. The Holy Father can be expected to blunt sharp distinctions between “human ecology” and “environmental ecology,” preferring instead to establish their interdependence. He will likely fix the care of creation within his ongoing critique of consumerism, materialism and capitalist excess. And he is likely to make the connection between environmental advocacy and the culture of life.

For a professional ecologist and faithful Catholic like Patenaude, it’s an exiting time. “Popes St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI were giants in their ecological thought,” says Patenaude. “Francis has a lot of catching up to do, and devoting an entire encyclical to the topic will be a wonderful contribution.”

The subject of ecology even has ecumenical momentum. Bartholomew I, the  Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, has long been a fierce environmental advocate. This year’s “patriarchal encyclical” to inaugurate the new liturgical year in the Eastern Church was devoted entirely to the environment. “The unlimited and insatiable exploitation of the natural resources of creation, which constitutes the primary cause of the destruction of the natural environment is – according to the witness of theology, science and the arts – the result of man’s fall, that is to say, our disobedience to the Lord’s command and non-conformation to God’s will,” wrote Bartholomew, who has been referred to as “the green Patriarch

  • 1
  • 2
Tags:
EconomyEnvironmentPope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
GUARDIAN ANGEL
Philip Kosloski
10 Mysterious things to know about guardian angels
2
tabernacle
Philip Kosloski
5 Important things to notice in a Catholic church
3
POPE AUDIENCE
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Do you know the 3 words that describe God’s style? Pope Fra...
4
Ziggurat of Ur
John Burger
Pope’s trip to Iraq is like a pilgrimage to a Holy Land
5
SAINT JOSEPH AND CHILD JESUS
Philip Kosloski
10 Things you should know about St. Joseph
6
WEB2-MANIFESTATIONS-BIRMANIE-TWITTER.jpg
John Burger
Nun and monk put themselves between police and protesters in Myan...
7
ANGEL
Philip Kosloski
Should you name your Guardian Angel?
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.