Well, that’s not exactly how he said it. But Pope Benedict XVI’s message for World Day of Peace
this year must have certainly grabbed the attention of the most ardent
ecologist, environmentalists and naturalists. Which was the idea…

Here’s how CNN reported it:

“In his address, called “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect
Creation,” the pope said peace with the natural environment is the
beginning of peace with all of God’s creation, including people.”

Again, not exactly. The pope is not putting people in there as an
add-on to the benefits of respecting the environment. He said when
‘human ecology’ is respected in society, environmental ecology also
benefits. “Our duties towards the environment flow from our duties
toward the person,” he said.

What the media aren’t plucking from this message is the centrality of human beings to creation.

“In the name of a supposedly egalitarian vision of the “dignity” of
all living creatures, such notions end up abolishing the
distinctiveness and superior role of human beings. They also open the
way to a new pantheism tinged with neo-paganism, which would see the
source of man’s salvation in nature alone, understood in purely
naturalistic terms. The Church, for her part, is concerned that the
question be approached in a balanced way, with respect for the
“grammar” which the Creator has inscribed in his handiwork by giving
man the role of a steward and administrator with responsibility over
creation, a role which man must certainly not abuse, but also one which
he may not abdicate. In the same way, the opposite position, which
would absolutize technology and human power, results in a grave assault
not only on nature, but also on human dignity itself.”


“May this be clear to world leaders and to those at every level who are concerned for the future of humanity…”

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....