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9 Inspiring quotes from popes on caring for God’s creation


Jeffrey Bruno | Rogelio A. Galaviz C./Flickr CC by NC 2.0 | Antoine Mekary

Cerith Gardiner - published on 06/04/19 - updated on 07/21/23

With our duty to protect God's gifts to us all, check out these encouraging words of three recent pontiffs.

In caring for God’s creation we tend to focus on things like recycling, reducing food-waste, and planting trees — and with all the bad news about the state of the natural world theses days, no one could blame us if we feel that our efforts are barely a drop in a plastic-filled ocean. Yet we should not be disheartened. As our three most recent popes remind us in their writings — including Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ — we can unite to protect God’s gift to us all, in order to ensure that future generations have an earthly home that can sustain them.

St. Pope John Paul II

“The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”

I wish to repeat that the ecological crisis is a moral issue. (…) At the conclusion of this Message, I should like to address directly my brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church, in order to remind them of their serious obligation to care for all of creation.”

“Placing human well-being at the center of concern for the environment is actually the surest way of safeguarding creation; this in fact stimulates the responsibility of the individual with regard to natural resources and their judicious use.”

Pope Benedict XVI

“Respect for creation is of immense consequence, not least because “creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God’s works,” and its preservation has now become essential for the pacific coexistence of mankind.”

The deterioration of nature is in fact closely connected to the culture that shapes human coexistence: when ‘human ecology’ is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits.”

“Respect for the human being and respect for nature are one and the same, but they will both be able to develop and to reach their full dimension if we respect the Creator and his creature in the human being and in nature.”

Pope Francis

“Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude.”

Small yet strong in the love of God, like Saint Francis of Assisi, all of us, as Christians, are called to watch over and protect the fragile world in which we live, and all its peoples.”

“In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts! Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened.”


Read more:
Ideas from ‘Laudato Si’ that worked their way into my heart and soul


Read more:
The overpopulation myth: Catholic teaching on how having children is good for the environment

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