Pope Francis on care for creation: ‘God wants justice to reign’


Pope Francis delivers his Regina Caeli address on May 21, 2023. / Vatican Media

Rome Newsroom, May 25, 2023 / 08:07 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has emphasized the importance of the virtue of justice in a message for the upcoming World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

“God wants justice to reign; it is as essential to our life as God’s children, made in his likeness, as water is essential for our physical survival,” he said in the message, released May 25.

“God wants everyone to strive to be just in every situation, to live according to his laws and thus to enable life to flourish,” the pope continued. “When we ‘Seek first the kingdom of God’ (Matthew 6:33), maintaining a right relationship with God, humanity, and nature, then justice and peace can flow like a never-failing stream of pure water, nourishing humanity and all creatures.”

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

The ecumenical day of prayer is seen as a sign of unity with the Orthodox Church and launches what is called the Season of Creation, celebrated every year from Sept. 1 through Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

The theme of the 2023 Season of Creation is “Let Justice and Peace Flow.”

Pope Francis said in his message that the theme is inspired by the words of the prophet Amos: “Let justice flow on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.”

The pope’s message for the 2023 World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation was released during Laudato Si’ Week May 21–28.

Laudato Si’ Week 2023 marks the eighth anniversary of the publication of Laudato Si’, Francis’ landmark encyclical on the environment.

In his message on caring for creation, Pope Francis said the first step is the transformation of our hearts.

“This is essential for any other transformation to occur; it is that ‘ecological conversion’ which St. John Paul II encouraged us to embrace: the renewal of our relationship with creation so that we no longer see it as an object to be exploited but cherish it instead as a sacred gift from our Creator,” he said.

“Creation,” Francis continued, “refers both to God’s mysterious, magnificent act of creating this majestic, beautiful planet and universe out of nothing and to the continuing result of that act, which we experience as an inexhaustible gift.”

“During the liturgy and personal prayer in ‘the great cathedral of creation,’ let us recall the great Artist who creates such beauty and reflect on the mystery of that loving decision to create the cosmos,” he said.

Pope Francis also reflected on his visit to Canada in July of last year, especially a stop on the shores of Lac Ste. Anne in Alberta, which is a place of pilgrimage for indigenous people.

The pope used the imagery of water throughout his message, including the idea of thinking about how to contribute “to the mighty river of justice and peace.”

One step he encouraged people to take is to change their lifestyles and to repent of their “ecological sins,” in the words of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.

Francis invited people, with the help of God’s grace, to lower their waste production and consumption, to be mindful about their habits and economic decisions, to use resources with moderation and sobriety, to recycle, and to make greater use of sustainable options.

Regarding public policies, Pope Francis said world leaders participating in COP28, the U.N. climate change conference at the end of the year, “must listen to science and institute a rapid and equitable transition to end the era of fossil fuel.”

“Let us raise our voices to halt this injustice towards the poor and towards our children, who will bear the worst effects of climate change,” he said.

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  1. In agreement, and also recalling four selected clips drawn from St. John Paul II’s early and broad remarks regarding “ecological conversion:”

    FIRST, “Beauty will save the world” (from Dostoyevsky) [….] please allow me to share with you my conviction that it is not too late for a radical conversion to the person in harmony with others, to the earth as a living space which is meant to be a garden and must not become a desert, even if the believer does not see it as his lasting homeland” (“Toward a True Ecology,” address to representatives of science, art and journalism, June 26, 1988).

    SECOND, “Clearly, an adequate solution cannot be found merely in a better management or a more rational use of the earth’s resources, as important as these may be. Rather, we must go to the source of the problem and face in its entirety that profound moral crisis OF WHICH THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT IS ONLY ON TROUBLING ASPECT [….] RESPECT FOR LIFE, AND ABOVE ALL FOR THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON, IS THE ULTIMATE GUIDING NORM FOR ANY SOUND ECONOMIC, INDUSTRIAL OR SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS [….] THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS IS A MORAL ISSUE [….] THE RIGHT TO A SAFE ENVIRONMENT is ever more insistently presented today as a right that must be included in an updated charter of human rights” [CAPS are italics]” (Message at World Day of Peace, Dec. 8, 1989).

    THIRD, “As I recalled in the first encyclical of my pontificate: ‘The essential meaning of this…’dominion’ of mankind over the visible world, which the Creator himself gave humankind for its task, consists in the priority of ethics over technology, in the primacy of the person over things, and in the superiority of spirit over matter,” (Conference address of Aug. 25, 1990, citing Redemptor Hominis, 1979, n. 16).

    FOURTH, “Equally worrying is THE ECOLOGICAL QUESTION which accompanies the problem of consumerism and which is closely connected to it” [n. 37, followed by sections on “THE MORAL CONDITIONS FOR AN AUTHENTIC ‘HUMAN ECOLOGY’” (CAPS are italics, Centesimus Annus, 1991, nn. 38-40).

  2. Disagree. The consequences of a “rapid and equitable (whatever his Marxist mind means by that) transition from fossil fuels” would be catastrophic for the world’s population, including the “poor” whom he pretends to champion, although not for the Davos set for whom exceptions will necessarily be made. No one is obligated to pray for or work to bring about his green dream. Anyone with sense should oppose it vigorously. Francis has no expertise in climatology or any other environmental field. The “consensus” on climate change theory is manufactured and coerced. Even with the professional risks involved with questioning this religion, skeptics are always popping up asking awkward questions and presenting contrary evidence. It is amazing how otherwise thoughtful commentators can so blithely endorse such dangerous nonsense. If Francis really believes in Global Warming and wants to do something about it, let him pledge to cease his private jet travel. Something tells me he won’t be that making that sacrifice.

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