Pope Francis Protects Creation With Words, Not Action
Most modern popes are environmentalists. Pope John Paul II described the biblical mandate, laid out in Genesis, that requires humanity to care for creation. Pope Benedict XVI made the Vatican the first solar-powered nation state in the world. And Pope Francis has been photographed holding an “anti-fracking” shirt and repeatedly denounces the sins of materialism and the “culture of waste” in the Catholic Church.
So it was not really news when Think Progress reported today that Pope Francis called on a crowd in Rome to become “Custodians of Creation.”
“Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude,” Francis said.
Francis also called destruction of the planet a sin.
“But when we exploit Creation we destroy the sign of God’s love for us, in destroying Creation we are saying to God: ‘I don’t like it! This is not good!’ ‘So what do you like?’ ‘I like myself!’ – Here, this is sin! Do you see?”
While these are great statements, they are neither original nor substantive. Pope Francis isn’t the first pope to call for environmental protection. And instead of actually protecting creation, like Pope Benedict XVI did with the solar panels, he’s just hoping that his words will spur others to action.
Perhaps my frustration comes from Pope Francis’s failure to take the one simple step necessary to show he’s serious about protecting creation. Earlier this year multi-faith groups sent a letter to Pope Francis calling for the Catholic Church’s divestment from fossil fuel companies. The letter spoke of the “vast numbers of ‘climate refugees'” and requested that the pope do something by divesting. But there has been no response from Pope Francis or the Vatican to the letter. And the Catholic Church still actively funds fossil fuel companies that are the agents of climate change.
Instead of urging us to act, Pope Francis has a responsibility to lead by example. We’ve heard his statements before. What is he prepared to do to protect creation?
News and Photo Source: Think Progress
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