10/07/2023, 08.53
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Laudate Deum, Indian Jesuit: With the Pope to protect 'the spirituality' of nature

by Nirmala Carvalho

Fr. Robert Athickal, founder and director of Tarumitra - active in 23 states of the Asian giant - emphasises the salient passages of the apostolic exhortation. 'Friends of Trees' in Sanskrit, the Catholic environmental association is committed to the conservation of biodiversity and ecological issues.

Delhi (AsiaNews) - "Pope Francis' Laudate Deum takes a critical look at how little has been done to date and clearly says what needs to be done, from now on, to preserve the climate and the environment." These are the first reactions to the latest apostolic exhortation of the Jesuit Robert Athickal, founder and director of Tarumitra (or "Friends of the trees" in Sanskrit) who adheres to each of the 73 paragraphs written by the pontiff. A document that once again builds on the objective set by the 2015 Paris Agreement and which envisaged limiting the increase in global temperature to within 1.5 degrees centigrade.

Tarumitra itself is a movement that evolved from the student-initiated Environment Forum in 1988, with a focus on conserving biodiversity and promoting ecological sensitivity. This student movement operates today in 23 states of India and in around 2 thousand schools and universities in the country. The headquarters is in Patna, Bihar, India, a biological reserve that the students planted and now manage regularly. Furthermore, this movement has always taken a position in favor of the spread of alternative energy sources.

In the apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum, Pope Francis also reflected on what he once again defined as "the culture of waste", saying that it reveals "a lack of education in using the things that remain, in remaking them, in replacing them in the order of common use of things". He also encouraged a "good use of nature", underlines Fr. Robert Athickal, “including practical actions that can help the environment and reduce our impact, such as installing solar panels. The pope also noted how environmental exploitation and degradation often lead to another type of “degradation,” namely in the way we treat others, especially those who already live with fewer resources.”

The Jesuits in India, the most populous country in the world for a few weeks, responded to the pontiff's call by sharing his words with young people: "The students are happy with the pope's attention to ecology. Furthermore - concludes the Jesuit Robert Athickal - the current Pope, as John Paul II had done, both insist on the intuitions of Teilhard de Chardin who thought that the universe and nature have a spirituality that must be respected and safeguarded".

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See also
Singapore archdiocese clarifies relationship between man and nature
07/10/2019 15:32
Conference in Jakarta brings religions together to fight climate change
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'Laudate Deum': Pope Francis issues stern warning to the world about climate change
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