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Pope Francis: A Christian who does not protect creation ‘does not care about the work of God’

CreationVATICAN CITY (RNS) If you are a Christian, protecting the environment is part of your identity, not an ideological option, Pope Francis said Monday (Feb. 9).

“When we hear that people have meetings about how to preserve creation, we can say: ‘No, they are the greens!’” Francis said in his homily at morning Mass, using a common name for environmental activists.

“No, they are not the greens! This is the Christian!” he said.

“A Christian who does not protect creation, who does not let it grow, is a Christian who does not care about the work of God; that work that was born from the love of God for us,” Francis continued. “And this is the first response to the first creation: protect creation, make it grow.”

The pope — who took his name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the environment — has made care for the environment a hallmark of his papacy since he was elected nearly two years ago.

In fact, the pontiff is preparing a major document, called an encyclical, on the environment. It is likely to reiterate his frequent calls for governments and individuals to take steps to combat climate change, a phenomenon he attributes in part to human activity.

That conclusion, and his focus on protecting creation, as he calls it, has angered some conservative Catholics in the U.S., who see it as further evidence that Francis is pushing a liberal agenda that slights traditional Catholic talking points on issues like abortion and gay marriage.

The issue is likely to get more heated in the coming months: The encyclical is expected by July, and Francis will be making his first visit to the U.S. in September.

In his homily on Monday in the chapel at his Vatican residence, Francis dwelt on the first reading of the Mass, the passage from Genesis that recounts the creation of the universe.

“In the ‘first creation,’” the pope said, “we must respond with the responsibility that the Lord gives us.”

“Even for us there is a responsibility to nurture the Earth, to nurture creation, to keep it and make it grow according to its laws,” he said. “We are the lords of creation, not its masters.”

YS/AMB END GIBSON

About the author

David Gibson

David Gibson is a national reporter for RNS and an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He has written several books on Catholic topics. His latest book is on biblical artifacts: "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery," which was also the basis of a popular CNN series.

19 Comments

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  • A Pope – a Jesuit – and now President of Agenda 21 or is it The King of Sustainability? LOL

    What good fortune that the end is nigh and he and his satanic kind will be no more. Lord hurry that day.

  • Dear Fellow Christian:

    As the Apostle Paul describes at some point in the future Jesus will come in the air, catch up the Church from the earth, and then return to heaven with the Church. This is known as the Rapture and it will be glorious. But what of our pets? Who will take care of our pets when we’re gone?

    After the Rapture Pet Care
    http://www.aftertherapturepetcare.com/

    This is what will happen for all pets registered with us immediately after the Rapture:

    Our non-Christian administrators will activate our rescue plan.

    Volunteers will be alerted immediately by email and telephone that they have been activated.

    Pets will be assigned to our Volunteer Pet Caretakers based upon location and other factors.

    Our administrators and Volunteer Pet Caretakers will do whatever it takes to find and rescue your pets. If your pet has a location chip, they’ll use that, or they’ll go to every location you’ve registered with us, and, if your pets are not at one of those locations, they’ll search for your cars as well as stay in contact with the local pet shelters. If they are unable to reach a Volunteer Caretaker in your area for whatever reason, our administrators will communicate with local animal organizations, like the Humane Society, to advocate for your pet’s rescue and care.

    Our administrators will stay in touch with our Volunteer Pet Caretakers regarding each and every pet to be sure everything is being done to rescue and care for them.

  • replenish the earth,

    And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

    Funny how it wasn’t very long ago and still is held as a ecological truth that GAIA ruled everything on earth yet now we know we humans have moved up in environmental influence to now be responsible for rapid climate change.;.and of course our record of destruction of species which again shows how far we must go to accept environmental stewardship of planet Earth.

  • A recent local commercial on TV says that in the last 100 years, man has destroyed 97% of the wild tiger population for their skins and bones! Only about 3,200 remain on the planet. Egads, how sad is that, along with any other animals facing extinction at man’s hands?!!

  • The climate change threat to our environment is driven by human overpopulation. What Francis needs to do is quickly rescind the Vatican’s ban on contraception and abortion, and he is the only person who can do that. The clock is ticking. — Edd Doerr (arlinc.org)

  • What he could do is sell the Vatican and channel the money from all that gelt into technology that reverses our contribution to global warming, such as c.o.2 scrubbing engines for cars and power units so that every time we drive we are actually helping to clean the atmosphere of excess C.O.2. Plow that Vatican wealth into R & D helping stop climate heating and promote prosperity instead of birth-control. What historically stops over-population in nations is achieving economic prosperity, e.g. Japan and European nations. So give give give, Francis to all the poor Catholics of the world and you won’t need to remind them not to take God’s Gift of Sex for men and women to enjoy a respite from life’s toils.

  • I look at Dalai Lama’s pic on the top of RNS and wonder what he’s referring to with his hands..my Buddha Mind’s bigger than yours maybe?..oh, I am terrible, my inability to take these religious leaders seriously who everyone is told to accommodate as worthy leaders. This one lost Tibet at the expense of hundreds of thousands of Tibetan lives because he didn’t know what he was doing as a human religious teenage idol in a Buddhist social system that lags way behind human rights progress and democracy instead of religious dictatorship. Like Francis, he too needs to step down from undeserved high authority over millions of gullible believers and let democracy be allowed even in religious matters. Priesthoods always screw spirituality up when they get their hands on political power.

  • Climate Change is a natural phenomenon, and nothing unusual. It happens all the time. It is not due to overpopulation. Too many people are congested into one small area, mainly Large Cities. New York City has Millions of People but go up into the foothills and no one is there.
    The world has never been overpopulated. People are not the problem, but Governments and Greed are the problems in the world today.

  • This Pope lives in the same fantasy world as Obama! While Christians around the world are being killed by extremists , this pope acts like he’s simply walking though a rose garden and enjoying life. Where is a Pope that is the General for the Army of God? We need someone that fights for what god gave us! Our fellow Christians are dieing while this clown wants to sit around a fire and sing kumbaya! Saving the environment is fine but isn’t saving your fellow man far more important….?

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