Care for Creation: joint message of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew

The story of creation presents us with a panoramic view of the world. Scripture reveals that, “in the beginning”, God intended humanity to cooperate in the preservation and protection of the natural environment.

At first, as we read in Genesis, “no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up – for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground” (2:5).

The earth was entrusted to us as a sublime gift and legacy, for which all of us share responsibility until, “in the end”, all things in heaven and on earth will be restored in Christ (cf. Eph 1:10).

Our human dignity and welfare are deeply connected to our care for the whole of creation. However, “in the meantime”, the history of the world presents a very different context.

It reveals a morally decaying scenario where our attitude and behaviour towards creation obscures our calling as God’s co-operators.

Our propensity to interrupt the world’s delicate and balanced ecosystems, our insatiable desire to manipulate and control the planet’s limited resources, and our greed for limitless profit in markets – all these have alienated us from the original purpose of creation.

We no longer respect nature as a shared gift; instead, we regard it as a private possession.

We no longer associate with nature in order to sustain it; instead, we lord over it to support our own constructs. The consequences of this alternative worldview are tragic and lasting.

The human environment and the natural environment are deteriorating together, and this deterioration of the planet weighs upon the most vulnerable of its people.

The impact of climate change affects, first and foremost, those who live in poverty in every corner of the globe.

Our obligation to use the earth’s goods responsibly implies the recognition of and respect for all people and all living creatures.

The urgent call and challenge to care for creation are an invitation for all of humanity to work towards sustainable and integral development. Continue reading


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