Work for Environment Should Emphasize Importance of Humanity
VATICAN CITY, MARCH 11, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says the "groaning of creation" is being caused in part by men's pride, but work for the environment must give first priority to "human ecology."
The Pope said this in a message to the bishops of Brazil in support of their annual Lenten campaign. This year the campaign is focused on fraternity and life on the planet.
The Feb. 16 message, addressed to the president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, Archbishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha of Mariana, said the first step for establishing a correct relationship with the world is recognizing our condition as creatures.
"[M]an is not God, but his image," the Holy Father affirmed, "that is why he must try to be more sensitive to the presence of God in what surrounds him: in all creatures and, especially, in the human person in whom there is a certain epiphany of God."
The Pope proposed that man's respect for creatures hinges on a "full sense of life," lest he be led "to contempt for himself and for what surrounds him."
"That is why the first ecology that must be defended is 'human ecology,'" Benedict XVI stated. "That is, without a clear defense of human life, from its conception to its natural death, without a defense of the family based on marriage between a man and a woman, without a real defense of those who are excluded and marginalized by society, without forgetting in this context those who lose everything, victims of natural disasters, there can never be talk of a genuine defense of the environment."
The Pope concluded with the reminder that man's duty to care for the environment is "an imperative that stems from the awareness that God entrusts his creation to man, not so that he can exercise over it an arbitrary dominion, but to preserve and care for it, as a son takes care of his father's inheritance."