04/22/2020, 10.35
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Pope: Rediscovering sacred respect for the earth, God’s house

On the 50th World Earth Day, Francis urges the international community to take care of the common home and the weakest. "It will still be necessary for our children to take to the streets to teach us what is obvious, that is, there is no future for us if we destroy the environment that supports us." "As the tragic coronavirus pandemic is showing us, only together and taking on the most fragile can we overcome global challenges."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The international community should rediscover the sense of sacred respect for the earth, our common home, and for all members of the human family, especially the weakest. On the 50th World Earth Day, Pope Francis dedicated today's general audience to recommending love and respect for the earth, underlining the importance of the "very important" COP15 meetings on Biodiversity in Kunming (China) and COP26 on Climate Change in Glasgow (UK).

The 50th World Earth Day, said Francis, " is an occasion for renewing our commitment to love and care for our common home and for the weaker members of our human family. As the tragic coronavirus pandemic has taught us, we can overcome global challenges only by showing solidarity with one another and embracing the most vulnerable in our midst. The Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ deals precisely with this ‘Care for our Common Home’.”

“We are fashioned from the earth, and fruit of the earth sustains our life. But, as the book of Genesis reminds us, we are not simply ‘earthly’; we also bear within us the breath of life that comes from God (cf. Gen 2:4-7). Thus we live in this common home as one human family in biodiversity with God’s other creatures.”

“Because of our selfishness we have failed in our responsibility to be guardians and stewards of the earth. ‘We need only take a frank look at the facts to see that our common home is falling into serious disrepair’ (ibid., 61). We have polluted and despoiled it, endangering our very lives. For this reason, various international and local movements have sprung up in order to appeal to our consciences. I deeply appreciate these initiatives; still it will be necessary for our children to take to the streets to teach us the obvious: we have no future if we destroy the very environment that sustains us. We have failed to care for the earth, our garden-home; we have failed to care for our brothers and sisters. We have sinned against the earth, against our neighbours, and ultimately against the Creator, the benevolent Father who provides for everyone, and desires us to live in communion and flourish together. How does the Earth respond? There is a Spanish saying: God always forgives, man sometimes forgives, the Earth never forgives.”

“How can we restore a harmonious relationship with the earth and with the rest of humanity? We need a new way of looking at our common home. It is not a storehouse of resources for us to exploit. For us believers, the natural world is the ‘Gospel of Creation’: it expresses God’s creative power in fashioning human life and bringing the world and all it contains into existence, in order to sustain humanity. As the biblical account of creation concludes: ‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good’ (Gen 1:31). When we see natural disasters, tehse are the Earth’s answer.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, ‘let us awaken our God-given aesthetic and contemplative sense’ (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia, 56). The prophetic gift of contemplation is something that we can learn especially from indigenous peoples. They teach us that we cannot heal the earth unless we love and respect it. At the same time, we need an ecological conversion that can find expression in concrete actions. As a single and interdependent family, we require a common plan in order to avert the threats to our common home. ‘Interdependence obliges us to think of one world with a common plan’ (Laudato Si’, 164).”

“We are aware of the importance of cooperation as an international community for the protection of our common home. I urge those in positions of leadership to guide the preparations for two important international Conferences: COP15 on Biodiversity in Kunming, China, and COP26 on Climate Change in Glasgow, United Kingdom. I would like to support concerted action also on the national and local levels. It will help if people at all levels of society come together to create a popular movement ‘from below’. The Earth Day we are celebrating today was itself born in precisely this way. We can each contribute in our own small way. ‘We need not think that these efforts are going to change the world. They benefit society, often unbeknown to us, for they call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread’ (Laudato Si’, 212).”

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