Do not act with tyranny towards God’s creation, Pope Francis says

Vatican City, Sep 1, 2019 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- In a message for Sunday’s World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to make simple changes to their lives so that God’s creation is treated with respect.

“Too many of us act like tyrants with regard to creation. Let us make an effort to change and to adopt more simple and respectful lifestyles!” he said in the Sept. 1 message.

“Let us say ‘no’ to consumerist greed and to the illusion of omnipotence, for these are the ways of death,” he said. “Let us inaugurate farsighted processes involving responsible sacrifices today for the sake of sure prospects for life tomorrow.”

“Let us not give in to the perverse logic of quick profit, but look instead to our common future!”

This is a time, the pope’s message continued, “to reflect on our lifestyles, and how our daily decisions about food, consumption, transportation, use of water, energy and many other material goods, can often be thoughtless and harmful.”

He encouraged, for example, replacing fossil fuels with forms of clean energy, and said indigenous people have “age-old” wisdom that can teach people to live in better relationship with the environment.

“Now is the time,” he said, “to rediscover our vocation as children of God, brothers and sisters, and stewards of creation. Now is the time to repent, to be converted and to return to our roots. We are beloved creatures of God, who in his goodness calls us to love life and live it in communion with the rest of creation.”

Pope Francis established the World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation in 2015, to be celebrated every year on Sept. 1.

The day of prayer is in keeping with the theme of the pope’s environmental encyclical Laudato Si and is seen as a sign of unity with the Orthodox Church, which established Sept. 1 as a day to celebrate creation in 1989.

Pope Francis said in his 2019 message that the period from Sept. 1 to Oct. 4 – the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi – is being celebrated as a “Season of Creation.”

He strongly encouraged Catholics to pray during this “season of increased prayer and effort on behalf of our common home.”

“In the silence of prayer, we can hear the symphony of creation calling us to abandon our self-centeredness in order to feel embraced by the tender love of the Father and to share with joy the gifts we have received,” he said.

He urged letting one’s prayers be inspired by closeness to nature, noting that St. Bonaventure called creation the first “book” God opens before one’s eyes, “so that, marveling at its order, its variety and its beauty, we can come to love and praise its Creator.”

Pope Francis also recalled the dedication of many young people to the environmental cause. “The young remind us that the earth is not a possession to be squandered, but an inheritance to be handed down. They remind us that hope for tomorrow is not a noble sentiment, but a task calling for concrete actions here and now,” he stated. “We owe them real answers…”

May Christians assume, “with prayer and commitment, our responsibility for the care of creation,” he said.

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  1. “Let us inaugurate farsighted processes involving responsible sacrifices today for the sake of sure prospects for life tomorrow.” Making sacrifices for a future life? That sounds Catholic! The Pope speaks, of course, about a “future life” on Mother Earth. I wonder if he even believes there is another life.

    • just another Catholic,
      I think it’s fair to concern oneself with the quality of life our children and grandchildren may enjoy in the future.

      Being careful stewards of God’s creation is important as long as we don’t get confused and worship what’s created instead of the Creator.

  2. Pope Francis endangers his otherwise legitimate message when he anoints only “indigenous people [who] have ‘age-old’ wisdom that can teach people to live in better relationship with the environment.” There is an important HALF-TRUTH here—indigenous hunter-gatherers were/are not in bed with morally ambivalent and big-impact modern technology. So, what’s missing?

    In 1991—-on the centenary of Rerum Novarum and consolidating the Church’s Social Thought—-Francis’ sidelined predecessor, Pope St. John Paul II, already gave similar guidance, almost word for word (!), for ecology (and the full range of other 21st century dilemmas):

    “This may mean making important changes in established lifestyles, in order to limit the waste of the environment and human resource” (CENTESIMUS ANNUS, n. 52, also 37-39), and “Man remains above all a being who seeks the truth and strives to live in the truth, deepening his understanding of it through a dialogue which involves past and future generations” (CA, n. 49).

    So, one NEED NOT appeal with Rousseau (?) to indigenous mindsets (and in bed with German “ideological colonization” of Amazonia!) in order to correct and fine-tune our Utilitarian and post-Christian culture. One NEED NOT swallow whole the gaggle of anti-Western narratives in order to think in genuine solidarity with future generations—-all of our children and grandchildren.

    So, where the Amazonia working paper pronounces that the earth is becoming “a giant landfill,” the selectively-screened participants are still free (yes?) to rise to the occasion by first disinterring John Paul II from a conspicuous THEOLOGICAL LANDFILL.

    The challenge is that in such a less-syncretic grounding in the “age-old” and integral wisdom of the Church (!), they would also have to include VERITATIS SPLENDOR which (horrors!) still has something clear to say about moral theology–and the “rigid,” “conservative,” supposedly “bigoted” and perennial moral absolutes.

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