Press releases
News archive
Selected books
ARC Home > News and Resources > News archive:

Pope tackles issues of ecology and energy use

December 13, 2006:

"Humanity, if it truly desires peace, must be increasingly conscious of the links between natural ecology - or respect of nature - and human ecology"

The Pope yesterday spoke out about how peace can only be attained by respecting the natural environment as well as the human environment.

"Not only has God given the earth to humanity, who must use it with respect for the original good purpose for which it was given, but humanity too is God's gift to humanity," Benedict XVI explained in his papal message in support of World Peace Day on January 1.

"Alongside the ecology of nature, there exists what can be called a 'human' ecology, which in turn demands a 'social' ecology. "Humanity, if it truly desires peace, must be increasingly conscious of the links between natural ecology - or respect of nature - and human ecology… Experience shows that a disregard for the environment always harms human coexistence, and vice versa."

As proof of the relationship between "natural" and "human" ecology, he cited "the increasingly serious problem of energy supplies."

"In recent years, new nations have entered enthusiastically into industrial production, thereby increasing their energy needs. This has led to an unprecedented race for available resources. Meanwhile, some parts of the planet remain backward and development is effectively blocked, partly because of the rise in energy prices."

"What will happen to these peoples?" asks the Pontiff. "What kind of development or non-development will be imposed on them by the scarcity of energy supplies? What injustices and conflicts will be provoked by the race for energy sources? And what will be the reaction of those who are excluded from this race?"

"These are questions that show how respect for nature is closely linked to the need to establish, between individuals and between nations, relationships that are attentive to the dignity of the person and capable of satisfying his or her authentic needs. The destruction of the environment, its improper or selfish use, and the violent hoarding of the earth's resources cause grievances, conflicts and wars, precisely because they are the consequences of an inhumane concept of development.

"Indeed, if development were limited to the technical-economic aspect, obscuring the moral-religious dimension, it would not be an integral human development, but a one-sided distortion which would end up by unleashing man's destructive capacities."

"The ecology of peace" is one of the most important sections of his message for World Day of Peace, to be observed Jan. 1 with the theme: "The Human Person, Heart of Peace."

Link here for the complete papal message.

Link here for a Statement on the Environment published by the Catholic Bishops Conference for England and Wales.

< previous 
ARC site map
Related pages

UK Catholics: The Call to Creation
"It is not wrong to want to live better. What is wrong is a style of life... directed towards having rather than being." A Catholic response to the environmental crisis.
March 17 2006:
Mexican faith leaders back the carbon trading initiative
The Inter-Religious Council of Mexico this month announced that a coalition of religious leaders would work together to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions of their houses of worship and to “offset” its impact by investing in clean energy and forestry projects.
ARC and the Faiths
Faith communities are working in countless ways to care for the environment. This section outlines the basics of each faith’s history, beliefs and teachings on ecology.