Friday, July 21, 2006

Pope: Catholics and Orthodox united on Green Issues

In a message to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Benedict XVI stressed that a shared commitment in defence of nature is “an example of the collaboration that Orthodox and Catholics should constantly search for in response to the appeal for a shared witness”.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – All Christians, especially Catholics and Orthodox, are called to promote awareness to show “the intrinsic link between development, human needs and the safeguarding of creation”, said Benedict XVI. The pope was writing to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in a message that also drew attention to the ecumenical significance of a shared action in defence of nature.
The message, published today in the Vatican, was written on the occasion of the “Religion, Science and the Environment” project promoted by Bartholomew I, and dedicated to the environment and protecting creation. In the framework of this project, a seminar was held in Brazil from 13 to 20 July entitled “The Rio of the Amazons, Springs of Life”. This was the sixth such meeting and its committee of honour included Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
“The task of stressing suitable catechesis with regard to creation, to call attention back to the religious meaning and significance of safeguarding it, is intimately connected with our duty as pastors and can have an important impact on the perception of the very value of life itself and on the adequate solution of consequent unavoidable social problems,” read the message that was borne by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, papal representative at the meeting.
Benedict XVI then expressed hope that the meeting will serve to draw the attention of governments and people to the problems, needs and urgencies of “a region whose ecological balance has been so tried and threatened: its rivers and its forests, in their beauty and grandeur, speak to us of God and his magnificent works for man. This immense region, where water is an unparalleled source of harmony and richness, is like an open book and the mystery of life is revealed in its pages. How can we not feel called, as individuals as well as communities, to a responsible awareness-raising that translates into coherent decisions to safeguard such an ecologically rich environment?”
The pope continued: “In our shared commitment, I see an example of the collaboration that Orthodox and Catholics should constantly search for in response to the appeal for a shared witness. This presupposes that all Christians cultivate in their inner selves that openness of heart dictated by charity, which has its roots in faith. In this way, they may offer to the world together a credible testimony of their sense of responsibility for the safeguarding of creation.”“People of goodwill can and should associate themselves with practical objectives dealing with human survival. Reciprocal respect is also communicated through initiatives like this present one, since the themes to be tackled are in everyone’s interest. Common points must be found on which to converge the commitment of each to safeguarding the habitat that the Creator prepared for mankind, in who he impressed his image.”


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