Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Ecology and St Joseph...

St Joseph by
Tatiana Krouzova
Pope Francis, whose inaugural Mass happened to fall on the feast of St Joseph, called this a "significant coincidence", and chose to speak on the theme of "protection" – protection of Jesus and Mary, of the Church, of all humanity, and of the environment. In his homily he said, "I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be 'protectors' of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment." And the secret of this ability to protect, which we see in Joseph, is attentiveness to God and therefore being in touch with reality, with our surroundings, with those around us. It is also goodness and tenderness, compassion. "Only those who serve with love are able to protect!" "To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds." Catholic ecologists like Glenn Juday will be delighted.

Of course, the reference to God's plan "inscribed in nature" is a reference to the deeper meaning of the doctrine of natural law, on which both previous popes have spoken – for example, Pope Benedict in his address to the German Bundestag on 22 September 2011, where he asked for an urgent debate on this topic, a debate that has not yet happened. "The importance of ecology is no longer disputed," he said. "We must listen to the language of nature and we must answer accordingly. Yet I would like to underline a point that seems to me to be neglected, today as in the past: there is also an ecology of man. Man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will. Man is not merely self-creating freedom. Man does not create himself. He is intellect and will, but he is also nature, and his will is rightly ordered if he respects his nature, listens to it and accepts himself for who he is, as one who did not create himself. In this way, and in no other, is true human freedom fulfilled."

Also please read this fascinating presentation by our friend Pablo Martinez de Anguita on his work as a Catholic ecologist.

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