Among today's positive signs we must also mention a greater realization of the limits of available resources, and of the need to respect the integrity and the cycles of nature and to take them into account when planning for development rather than sacrificing them to certain demagogic ideas about the latter. Today this is called ecological concern... Nor can the moral character of development exclude respect for the beings which constitute the natural world, which the ancient Greeks alluding precisely to the order which distinguishes it–called the “cosmos”.
Care for our Common Home Resources
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California Catholic Bishops Issue Call to Protect Our Common Home
"God destined the earth and all it contains for all people and nations so that all created things would be shared fairly by all humankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity."
The Church in the Modern World, #69
SACRAMENTO, CA – Cherishing the many natural blessings of the Golden State while expressing growing concern with escalating threats to our world, the Catholic Bishops of California have issued a pastoral statement calling on all people to “contribute to the ecological well-being of our state.”
“We are publishing our Pastoral Statement on the fourth anniversary of Laudato Si’ with a two-fold vision in mind,” say the Bishops: “To animate and energize the implementation in California of what Laudato Si’ calls us to do, and to offer a dynamic teaching and evangelization tool for our Catholic faith community and beyond, especially for young people.”
In God Calls Us All to Care for Our Common Home, the Bishops challenge the people of California to appreciate the beauty of the state and to apply – both individually and collectively – the teachings of Laudato Si’ in safeguarding our natural gifts.
The statement emphasizes the Catholic concept of the common good – “the sum total of social conditions that allow us to access the resources and services necessary for a dignified life” -- in relationship to the environment and the people of California.
It follows by building on the concept of “integral ecology” first explored be Saint Pope John Paul II and expanded upon by Pope Francis. The teaching emphasizes that stewardship of nature must first be at the service of advancing the good of all people in their environmental, economic and cultural dimensions.
God Calls Us All to Care for Our Common Home, most importantly, aims to encourage the practical applications of these teaching.
In the second section, the California Catholic Conference of Bishops challenge different groups to do their part:
- Pastoral leaders and Catholic institutions are encouraged to share practical tools of teaching that proclaim the encyclical’s themes.
- The Bishops ask youth and young adults to find opportunities to pray in natural surroundings and initiate conversations with older adults about environmental protection.
- Parents, teachers, and catechists are encouraged to help create an environmental consciousness and literacy that promotes the principles of Laudato Si’ in every family’s lifestyle.
- The statement suggests that public officials enact policies that improve air quality, reduce polluting gases, strengthen water systems, protect precious ecosystems, and support the health of our citizens.
- Leaders in business are encouraged to consider to what extent their business enterprises, its products, and its marketing meet genuine human needs and promotes the common good.
- The Bishops suggest that those who work the land and care for it reflect on how their work can best balance economic production and environmental protection with attention to greater sustainability.
- The statement calls on artists and innovators to find new ways to highlight the beauty of creation and inspire a culture of ecological and human care in the light of the moral applications of the Pope’s encyclical.
Finally, echoing Laudato Si’, the Bishops conclude with a call to a spiritual conversion that respects our common home and cares for all, especially the poor and vulnerable.
“Ecological conversion challenges us to advance in culture, to grow spiritually, and to be better educated about the world entrusted by God to our care. The heavens and the earth belong to God, but we have been called to be good stewards.”
“The order of creation demands that a priority be given to those human activities that do not cause irreversible damage to nature, but which instead are woven into the social, cultural, and religious fabric of the different communities. In this way, a sober balance is achieved between consumption and the sustainability of resources.” - Message to the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization for the Celebration of World Food Day, October 16, 2006.
Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!
The beauty of the universe: the order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. the beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man's intellect and will.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 341
On October 4, Catholics around the world celebrate the extraordinary life of St. Francis of Assisi. His love for those who are poor and afflicted, as well as his deep affection for God’s creation, is a timely reminder as the Golden State enters the fourth year of a record-setting drought.
Last week at a general audience in Rome, Pope Francis strongly encouraged all people to nurture and protect Creation, which reveals "the greatness and love of God and His profound relationship with every creature."
On April 22, Earth Day we can celebrate the beauty and wonder of God’s Creation, reflect on our human relationship and responsibility, and promote the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor.
As the California drought reaches historic levels, hundreds of water districts throughout the state are scrambling to fill the needs of rural, urban and industrial customers. Competing relief proposals fly through Congress even as Governor Brown teams with California legislative leaders to fashion a $687 million drought-relief program.
California is facing its third straight year of lower than normal rainfall. The Golden State is no stranger to drought and - although one has not been officially declared – the low levels of reservoirs, Sierra snowpack and groundwater are becoming increasingly apparent.
“Water is essential to who we are as human beings,” said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento and president of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops. “Our reliance on water reveals how much we are part of creation and creation is a part of us.”