In view of the concerns of so many throughout the world, the devastation caused by changes in patterns of life and natural disasters, it is time for our catholic communities to examine the teachings of our Church and develop plans of action for the enhancement of the earth and protection of all created beings.
It might come as a surprise to some but religious leaders and theologians have been recognizing in our Catholic Social Teaching a clear direction with a common purpose. The United Nations took up issues of the environment declaring a worldwide celebration of a Day for the Environment in 1973. Two years previous, Saint Pope Paul VI noting the eightieth anniversary of the “Rerum Novarum” of Leo XIII wrote: “Man is suddenly becoming aware that by an ill-conceived considered exploitation of nature he risks destroying it…Not only is the material environment becoming a permanent menace—pollution and refuse, new illness and absolute destructive capacity—but the human framework is no longer under man’s control, thus creating an environment for tomorrow which may be intolerable.” (21)
This twentieth-century prophet was warning us about what we are now experiencing throughout many nations, including our own. Pandemics have plagued our societies, settled cities have suffered the ravages of “storms of the century”, wars are being fought over the lack of resources, and men, women, and children have had to flee violent uprisings and cease to exist where they have dwelt for millennia. The dignity of humanity is not seen as God’s gift but is defined on the basis of the amount of power possessed, the size of houses built, the value of material things possessed, and most recently the numbers of weapons had to defend those very signs of affluence.
What Pope Paul declared has been repeated time and again by his successors: Saint Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and most recently, Pope Francis. Each has defined for us a path back to righteousness which Jesus proclaimed again and again from the Sermon on the Mount to His vision of the final judgment as written in Matthew’s Gospel.
On this web page, we hope to share the teachings of our Church as they are acted upon in the Archdiocese, our parishes, and diverse ecclesial movements. It is a true human tragedy when few individuals look upon our times and see everything through the prism of politics. They forget the Divine Mandate given to us by God from the beginning in which He proclaimed all that was created was good and each person is a steward of the gift of Creation.