Pope Benedict XVI and Environmental concerns (College) INTRODUCTION Admittedly, Pope Benedict XVI is noted for his recent statements related to environment. It seems that he is very interested in the subject because he has spoken and written about environment and human responsibilities in a number of situations…
of mankind. Admittedly, the only irony is that still, the leader thinks only about the welfare of the mankind; not about the wellbeing of other species. The spiritual leader thinks that the methods of development adopted by the nations are erroneous and are the reasons behind the present day environmental crises. So, it is claimed by the Pope that there is the need to have a long term review of our ‘models of development’. The situation is warranted due to a number of reasons. Firstly, ‘the ecological health of the planet’ is declining, and secondly, there is severe cultural and moral crisis everywhere in the world2. Another important aspect of the environmental view held by Pope Benedict XVI is the realization of the need to unite irrespective of region and religion. In other words, Pope is calling for the unity of all people, all nations, and all cultures to bring about effective changes in the way we deal with environment. Thus, the spiritual leader claims that only ‘solidarity’ with new rules and forms of engagement can bring about the desired results. Moral decline is linked to environment Being the spiritual leader, Pope considers the present day crisis as the result of moral crises. In other words, the leader claims that all the issues faced by the present-day world are interconnected. To illustrate, the economic, food-related, environmental, and social issues are all the result of moral crises. That means it is high time for the people to adopt a life of ‘sobriety and solidarity’, to adopt such strategies that are useful and to reject the ones that do not work. According to the pope, the present environmental issues arose because humans understood the meaning of god’s command and exploit God’s creation as he wanted to enjoy absolute command over other things in the world. In order to correct this misunderstanding, the pope interpret God’s original command as seen in Genesis, and says that the command does not mean a ‘conferral of authority’. Instead, the pope points out that the command meant a ‘summons to responsibility’. In order to support this position, Pope gives the example of the wisdom of ancients which had recognized the fact that nature is not a ‘heap of scattered refusal which is at our disposal’. Thus, the point the pope wants to put forward is that as Genesis puts it, nature is a gift given by God to man, and he is allowed to ‘till it and keep it’3. Thus, the entire nature belongs to God, and it has its own inbuilt nature. So, the duty of man is to become co-worker of God, not to become tyrants who provoke rebellion in nature. However, as the speech progresses, one can see pope criticizing the unequal distribution of wealth and resources among nations and peoples. Quoting the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, it is pointed out that ‘God has destined the earth and everything it contains for all peoples and nations’4. That means the fruits of the creation are not the property of a few people or nations, but all ...
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