ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS TO A GROUP OF EXPERTS WHO COLLABORATE WITH THE CONFERENCE OF THE BISHOPS OF FRANCE
ON THE THEME OF LAUDATO SI 'Thursday, September 3, 2020
Ladies, Gentlemen ,
Ladies, Gentlemen ,
I am pleased to welcome you and extend a cordial welcome to Rome. I thank Monsignor de Moulins Beaufort for taking the initiative of this meeting, following the reflections that the Conference of Bishops of France made regarding the Encyclical Laudato si ' , reflections in which a number of experts committed to the cause took part. ecological .
We are part of a single human family, called to live in a common home whose disquieting degradation we note together. The health crisis that humanity is currently experiencing reminds us of our fragility. We understand to what extent we are linked to each other, inserted in a world whose evolution we share, and that mistreating it can only have serious consequences, not only environmental, but also social and human.
It rejoices that an awareness of the urgency of the situation is now found almost everywhere, that the theme of ecology increasingly permeates the ways of thinking at all levels and begins to influence political and economic choices, even if much remains to be done and if we still see too many slowness and even steps backwards. For its part, the Catholic Church intends to participate fully in the commitment to protect the common home. It has no ready-made solutions to propose and does not ignore the difficulties of the technical, economic and political issues at stake, nor all the efforts that this commitment entails. But he wants to act concretely where this is possible, and above all he wants to form consciences in order to favor a profound and lasting ecological conversion., which alone can respond to the important challenges we face.
Regarding this ecological conversion, I would like to share with you the way in which the convictions of faith offer Christians great motivations for the protection of nature, as well as of the most fragile brothers and sisters, because I am certain that science and faith, which propose different approaches to reality, can develop an intense and fruitful dialogue (cf. Enc. Laudato si ' , 62).
The Bible teaches us that the world was not born of chaos or chance, but of a decision of God who called it and always calls it into existence, out of love. The universe is beautiful and good, and contemplating it allows us to glimpse the infinite beauty and goodness of its Author. Every creature, even the most ephemeral, is the object of the tenderness of the Father, who gives it a place in the world. The Christian can only respect the work that the Father has entrusted to him, like a garden to cultivate, to protect, to grow according to his potential. And if man has the right to make use of nature for his own ends, he cannot in any way consider himself its owner or despot, but only the administrator who will be accountable for its management. In this garden that God offers us, human beings are called to live in harmony in justice,LS , 82). And when nature is considered solely as an object of profit and interest - a vision that consolidates the will of the strongest - then harmony is broken and serious inequalities, injustices and suffering occur.
Saint John Paul II affirmed: “Not only has the earth been given by God to man, who must use it respecting the original intention of good, according to which it was given to him; but man is given to himself by God and must therefore respect the natural and moral structure with which he was endowed "(Enc. Centesimus annus, 38). Everything is therefore connected. It is the same indifference, the same selfishness, the same greed, the same pride, the same claim to be the master and despot of the world that lead human beings, on the one hand, to destroy species and plunder natural resources, from other, to exploit misery, to abuse the work of women and children, to overturn the laws of the family cell, to no longer respect the right to human life from conception to natural end.
Therefore, "if the ecological crisis is an emergence or an external manifestation of the ethical, cultural and spiritual crisis of modernity, we cannot deceive ourselves to heal our relationship with nature and the environment without healing all fundamental human relationships" ( LS , 119). So there will be no new relationship with nature without a new human being, and it is by healing the heart of man that one can hope to heal the world of both its social and environmental disorders.
Dear friends, I renew my encouragement for your efforts in favor of environmental protection. While conditions on the planet may appear catastrophic and certain situations even seem irreversible, we Christians do not lose hope, because we have our gaze turned to Jesus Christ. He is God, the Creator himself, who came to visit his creation and to dwell among us (cf. LS , 96-100), to heal us, to make us rediscover the harmony we have lost, harmony with our brothers and sisters and harmony with nature. "He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, because he is definitively united with our land, and his love always leads us to find new paths" ( LS , 245).
I ask God to bless you. And I ask you, please, to pray for me.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va -