Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Pope and the Environment

If Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew is the "Green Patriarch," I think today's message to diplomats  newly assigned to the Vatican shows that Pope Benedict is the "Green Pope." It's odd how many devout Catholics have been insisting that the Pope is not "green," or that he was just plain wrong in having the Vatican outfitted with solar panels and other green technology. Granted, the "green" label is claimed by some political groups that are anything but green when it comes to the human creature, but that doesn't scare Pope Benedict off from insisting on responsibility toward creation.
Anyway, here's the Vatican Information Service report (emphases are mine); I think  you can see here Benedict's "environmental humanism," which could be a helpful way of engaging nonbelievers and introducing the Christian vision of man:

  In his introductory speech, referring to the "innumerable tragedies that have affected nature, technology, and the peoples" in the first semester of this year, Benedict XVI noted that "the States should reflect together on the short term future of the planet, on our responsibilities regarding our life and technology".

  "Human ecology", he emphasized, "is an imperative. Adopting a lifestyle that respects our environment and supports the research and use of clean energies that preserve the patrimony of creation and that are safe for human beings should be given political and economic priority".

  The Pope highlighted that "a change in mentality" is necessary in order to "quickly arrive at a global lifestyle that respects the covenant between humanity and nature, without which the human family risks disappearing. ... Every government must commit themselves to protecting nature and assisting it to carry out its essential role in the survival of humanity. The United Nations seem to be the natural framework for this type of reflection, which should not be obscured by blindly partisan political or economic interests in order to give preference to solidarity over particular interests".

  "It is also helpful to ask ourselves", he continued, "about the appropriate role of technology" because "believing it is the exclusive agent of progress or happiness carries a reification of humanity that leads to blindness and misery. ... Technology that dominates human beings deprives them of their humanity. The pride that it generates has created an impossible economism in our societies as well as a hedonism that subjectively and selfishly regulates behavior.  The debilitation of the primacy of the human person provokes a loss of the meaning of life".

  Benedict noted that "it is urgent that we match technology with a strong ethical dimension. ... Technology should help nature develop along the lines envisioned by the Creator. In working together, the researcher and the scientist adhere to God's plan that desired humanity as the apex and the administrator of creation. Solutions based on this principle will protect human life and its vulnerability, as well as the rights of the present and future generations".

V.I.S. -Vatican Information Service.
Copyright © Vatican Information Service 00120 Vatican City

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