11/08/2013, 00.00
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Year of Faith in India: protect the environment to stop humanity's degradation

by Nirmala Carvalho
Respecting nature means protecting man from the danger of self-destruction. The Church must promote environmental education and the community must learn to resist the lure of consumerism, preserve green spaces and avoid wasting of water. AsiaNews presents the fifth and final part of the results of the national symposium organised by India's Latin rite bishops.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Economic and industrial development bring wellbeing, but also degrade nature. This also impacts on the human community, which is part of God's creation. The following is the fifth and final issue addressed at last October's national symposium by the Commission for Theology and Doctrine of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India-Latin Rite (CBCC-LR). The other issues discussed at the meeting in the light of the documents of Vatican II are poverty, violence against women, religious conflicts and life.

A country facing ecological threats

India has made rapid strides with economic development and we witness much technological growth. In Mumbai itself, we can see 55 flyovers built to ease traffic congestion, towers and malls have been constructed, Special Economic Zones have been planned - but at the cost of the environment.  The builders' lobby has turned once lush green areas into concrete jungles.  Reclamation of the sea has destroyed mangroves resulting in floods. The air and rivers have been polluted; the forest cover has disappeared in many places.

"The Church has a responsibility towards creation, and she considers it her duty to exercise that responsibility in public life, in order to protect earth, water and air as gifts of God the Creator meant for everyone, and above all to save mankind from the danger of self-destruction. The degradation of nature is closely linked to the cultural models shaping human coexistence: consequently, when 'human ecology' is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits... The book of nature is one and indivisible; it includes not only the environment but also individual, family and social ethics" (Pope Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Peace, 1 January 2010).

  • We, the members of the Symposium, appeal to Church leaders to promote environmental education highlighting God's ownership and human stewardship of creation, inculcating green attitudes and thoughts.
  • We ourselves pledge to take concrete actions such as conserving the greenery, avoiding wastage of water, fighting against light, noise and marine pollution. We will make our homes models of eco-friendliness.
  • In particular, we will resist the lure for consumerism kindled by the advertisement industry. The earth has enough to feed the need of all, but not the greed of some.

"We close with the words of Pope Francis in Lumen Fidei, no. 27: "The truth we seek, the truth that gives meaning to our journey through life, enlightens us whenever we are touched by love. One who loves realizes that love is an experience of truth, that it opens our eyes to see reality in a new way, in union with the beloved."  We entrust our Symposium to Mary our Mother praying that she may be with us as we journey with Jesus to the Father in the Spirit.  The concluding statement of the Symposium stated.


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