Green Pope: to cultivate peace, protect creation!

The Vatican has released in advance, as is customary, Pope Benedict XVI's message for World Peace Day which is observed annually on January 1. From National Catholic Reporter John Allen comes this snip of the pope's words:
“How can one remain indifferent in the face of problems such as climate change, desertification, the degradation and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase in extreme weather, and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical areas?” he asked.

“How can one overlook the growing phenomenon of so-called ‘environmental refugees,’ meaning persons who, because of environmental degradation, have to leave – often together with their belongings – in a kind of forced movement, in order to escape the risks and the unknown? How can we not react to the conflicts already underway, as well as potential new ones, linked to access to natural resources?”

“These are all questions,” Benedict XVI said, “that have a profound impact on the exercise of human rights, such as the rights to life, to food, to health and to development.”

The World Day of Peace is an observance launched by the Catholic church under Pope Paul VI in 1967. The day is actually marked on Jan. 1, but the Vatican released Benedict’s message Dec. 15.

Benedict’s title was “If you want to cultivate peace, take care of creation” – a deliberate play on Paul VI’s famous injunction, “If you want peace, work for justice.”

Benedict accented a vision of the cosmos as a gift of God, which human beings have an obligation to “care for and cultivate.” In that regard, the pope called for “a profound and farsighted revision of the model of development,” based not only on the needs of today’s “living beings, human and non-human,” but those of generations to come.

(The full text of the Green Pope's message can be found at the Vatican Radio site)

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