Bartholomew: development should not be a nightmare for the environment
“The very life of the Church is applied environmentalism,” Bartholomew writes. “The sacraments of the Church, her entire life of worship, her asceticism and community life, the daily life of her faithful, express and generate the deepest respect for creation.”
Istanbul (AsiaNews) - Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I just released a message on the occasion of World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, which is celebrated tomorrow.
In his statement, the Patriarch notes that although it is "a shared belief that the natural environment is at present threatened as never before in human history, nations and economic decision-makers are unable make the right decisions to protect creation because of geopolitical ambitions and the 'autonomy of the economy'.”
For Bartholomew, “What is at stake is no longer quality, but the preservation of life on our planet. For the first time in history, man is able to destroy the conditions of life on earth.
“Nuclear weapons are the symbol of man's Promethean Titanism, the tangible expression of the 'omnipotence complex' of the contemporary 'man-god'. In using the power that comes from science and technology, what is revealed today is the ambivalence of human freedom.
“Science ought to serve life, contribute to progress, tackle diseases and other illnesses hitherto considered 'fatal', as well as create positive prospects for the future. Yet, at the same time, it provides man with all-powerful means, the misuse of which can be destructive.”
At present, “We are experiencing the destruction of the natural environment, biodiversity, flora and fauna, the pollution of water resources and the atmosphere, the progressive collapse of the climatic balance,” and other excesses. Nevertheless, “economic development, based today on ‘profit maximisation,’ cannot continue to be a nightmare for the environment.”
A “change of direction towards an environmentally-oriented economy is a must. There is no real progress based on the destruction of the natural environment. It is inconceivable that economic decisions can be made without taking into account their environmental consequences.”
For the ecumenical patriarch, the current situation shows how "the integrity of nature" is a "categorical imperative" for modern humanity, which people, groups and organisations recognise but not government officials.
In the face of such reality, “the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been a pioneer in the field of the protection of creation,” and plans to continue its environmental initiatives, organise environmental conferences, mobilise the faithful, especially young people.
It will also promote environmental protection as a “fundamental issue for interreligious dialogue and shared initiatives by religions, [including] contacts with political leaders and institutions, and cooperation with environmental organisations and movements.
“It is clear that collaboration on environmental protection creates more communication channels and the possibility of new shared actions.”
“The very life of the Church is applied environmentalism,” Bartholomew notes. “The sacraments of the Church, her entire life of worship, her asceticism and community life, the daily life of her faithful, express and generate the deepest respect for creation.
“Orthodoxy’s environmental sensitivity was not created but emerged from the contemporary environmental crisis. The struggle for the protection of creation is a central dimension of our faith.
“Respect for the environment is an act of doxology of the name of God, whilst the destruction of creation is an offense against the Creator, completely irreconcilable with the fundamental principles of Christian theology.”