Monday, September 03, 2007
Pope calls for more Catholics to help protect the Environment  

The Holy Father was in Loreto, Italy during the first two days of September as he presided over a national meeting of young people. Yesterday, in the homily at the concluding Mass, he urged the young people to consider the importance of helping to preserve the environment.

I appreciate the Holy Father highlighting this important area of justice. Ever since I was quite young, I have had a great interest in the environment. I remember at an early age reading magazines like National and International Wildlife and Audubon. In fact, one of my elementary school teachers predicted that I would become an environmental lawyer.

I never wound up in law school, but after receiving my degree in mechanical engineering, I have been able to work for several consulting firms that to a lesser or greater degree allowed me to work in my area of interest. My current job is the most directly related to preserving the environment, in particular, improving air quality.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work in this area because I know that it does make a difference in improving the lives of others. I have come to understand that preserving the environment is indeed an issue of justice because we are responsible for how we treat God's creation, particularly humans, and we are called to consider what legacy we will leave for future generations.

I can only echo the Holy Father's call to young people to be involved in this work. Faithful Christians can make an important impact by maintaining that any work to preserve the environment must keep human beings, created in the image and likeness of God, as the focus of all efforts.

The world is in urgent need of Catholics working to protect the environment, says Benedict XVI.

Following Christ, the Holy Father affirmed, brings with it "the continual effort to make one's own contribution to building a more just and solidary society, where all can enjoy the goods of the earth."

"I know that many of you dedicate yourselves with generosity to bear witness to your own faith in various social ambits, volunteering, working to promote the common good, peace and justice in every community," he said. "One of the areas in which work appears to be urgent is without a doubt that of protecting creation.

"To the new generations the future of the planet is entrusted, in which there are evident signs of a development that has not always known how to safeguard the delicate equilibriums of nature.

"Before it is too late, it is necessary to make courageous decisions that reflect knowing how to re-create a strong alliance between man and the earth.

"A decisive 'yes' to the protection of creation is necessary and a firm commitment to reverse those tendencies that run the risk of bringing about situations of unstoppable degradation."

Benedict XVI applauded an initiative from the Church in Italy to promote sensitivity to the issue of protecting creation. Sept. 1 has been established as a national day for promoting awareness of these matters.

"This year," the Holy Father observed, "attention is focused above all on water, a most precious good that, if it is not shared in a fair and peaceful way, will unfortunately become a cause for significant tensions and bitter conflicts."



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