Why the Catholic Church Cares About the Environment

Today marks the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. While many connect this topic of the environment to Pope Francis and his encyclical, Laudato Si’, care for creation isn’t a new idea under the current papacy.

“Pope Benedict put solar panels on top of the Vatican … and then Pope St. John Paul II named St. Francis the patron saint of ecologists way back in 1979 and made a point of ecological awareness as not something to be put to the side, but rather, he said it ought to be encouraged to develop into concrete programs and initiatives,” said John Feister, Director of Communications at Glenmary Home Missioners and regular contributor to Morning Air®.

During this month of September, our Holy Father has chosen respect for the planet’s resources as his monthly prayer intention. “We pray that the planet’s resources will not be plundered, but shared in a just and respectful manner,” says the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.

In his monthly video, Pope Francis states: “We are squeezing out the planet’s goods. Squeezing them out, as if the earth were an orange. Counties and businesses from the global north have enriched themselves by exploiting the natural resources of the south, creating an ‘ecological debt.’ Who is going to repay this debt? In addition, this ‘ecological debt’ is increased when multinationals do abroad what they would never be allowed to do in their own countries. It’s outrageous. Today, not tomorrow; today, we have to take care of Creation responsibly. Let us pray that the planet’s resources will not be plundered, but shared in a just and responsible way. Not to plundering; yes to sharing.”

The Catholic Church stands for the care of God’s creation and the responsible use of resources so that the poor are not forgotten or exploited and we can make good use of the earth that God has created for us and preserve it’s beauty for future generations to enjoy.

While this issue is often politicized or pushed aside as “someone else’s problem”, the Church calls us back to focus on the central values of our Faith. “One of our most central values is the protection of life, and the protection of creation is related to that. So many of these issues of respecting human life are connected to respecting all of life. Creation, in the earth around us, in the people around us, in the animals—those are God’s creation to us. They are life and we are commanded and implored to tune in and respect them,” explained John Feister.

We honor the Creator by respecting His Creation.

Read the Holy Father’s message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

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Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.