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Bible on climate change: Pope gives 3 facets of conversion



Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 07/13/22

Don't seek a life of luxury reserved to a few, reduce consumption and waste, and maybe even eat less meat.

Pope Francis called on three section of Scripture to illustrate the “particular contribution” of Christianity to the problem of climate change, specifically to the challenge of protecting both individuals and our planet.

In a message to participants in a conference on “Resilience of People and Ecosystems under Climate Stress,” the Holy Father cited Genesis and the Gospel of Matthew.

The Book of Genesis tells us that the Lord saw that all he had made was very good (cf. Gen 1:31) and entrusted human beings with the responsibility of being stewards of his gift of creation (cf. Gen2:15).

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus reinforces the goodness of the natural world by reminding us of God’s care for all his creatures (cf. Mt 6:26.28-29).

Thus biblical teaching, the Pope says, shows us that caring for our common home is not just “utilitarian” – something useful, practical, and necessary – but in fact a “moral obligation for all men and women as children of God.”

Conversion of life

The Pope noted how he has called for what he refers to as an “ecological conversion.”

He said this conversion – as its spiritual counterpart – calls for

• a change of mentality, and
• commitment to work

And he spelled out “three important spiritual elements”:

• The first entails gratitude for God’s loving and generous gift of creation.
• The second calls for acknowledging that we are joined in a universal communion with one another and with the rest of the world’s creatures.
• The third involves addressing environmental problems not as isolated individuals but in solidarity as a community.

Young people ‘get it’

Earlier this week, the Pope told young people that he’s pleased to see their effective efforts in regard to taking care of the planet.

“While previous generations talked a lot and concluded little, you on the other hand have been capable of concrete initiatives,” he said.

For the youth, the Holy Father spelled out some concrete factors of this conversion of life:

Don’t let yourselves be seduced by the sirens that propose a life of luxury reserved for a small slice of the world. Instead, have that “broad outlook” that can take in all the rest of humanity, which is much bigger than our little continent.

May you aspire to a life of dignity and sobriety, without luxury and waste, so that everyone in our world can enjoy a dignified existence.

There is an urgent need to reduce the consumption not only of fossil fuels but also of so many superfluous things. In certain areas of the world, too, it would be appropriate to consume less meat: this too can help save the environment.

Farming methods

In getting down to the details of diet choice, the Pope reflected consensus that adjusting what we eat can be a significant part of caring for the planet, due to the problems caused by industrial farming methods.

Economist Impact, explains:

Switching to a fully or even partial plant-based diet can help significantly reduce global greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions and is considered a crucial step in the fight against climate change. 

EnvironmentPope Francis
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