08/29/2007, 00.00
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The Pope condemns arsonists and all those who “destroy man’s patrimony: the environment”

Benedict XVI reflects on the ‘irresponsible behaviour’ which provoked the fires in Greece and in Italy and the floods in Asia. The pontiff’s appeal at the end of the general audience dedicated to the figure of Gregory of Nssya, who sang of creation as “God’s great work of art”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Benedict XVI has strongly condemned the “criminal acts” and “irresponsible behaviour” of arsonists, but also of all “those who  put human lives at risk and destroy the environment which is mankind’s patrimony”. The pope was referring especially to the recent floods is Asia as well as the disastrous fires across Europe, in particular in Greece and Italy.

At the end of his audience today, held in St. Peter’s square, the pope said: “In these days, some geographic regions have been devastated by serious disasters: I am referring to the flooding in some Eastern countries, also to the diasterous fires in Greece, Italy and other European nations”.

"One cannot help being worried by the irresponsible behaviour of those who put human safety at risk and destroy the environment, a precious patrimony for all of humanity” The pontiff concluded his appeal by underlining that he too joins “those who rightly stigmatize such criminal actsand I invite all to pray for the victims of these tragedies".

In recent weeks across Italy Spain Greece and other European countries, fires born of arson attacks have caused death and destruction, aided by the hot climate and warm seasonal winds, destroying many nature reserves.  Floods in Asia, meanwhile have lead to the deaths of over 2 thousand people and tens of thousands have been made homeless.  The floods are caused in part by the annual monsoon rains, but also by the massive deforestation of building policies of many states.

Today’s audience was dedicated to St Gregory of Nyssan, Father of the Church from the IV century.  The pope highlighted his theological teachings on the Holy Spirit and on creation, which he defined as God’s “work of art”.



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