The Holy Father’s exhortation that God charges every human being with the role of protecting and caring for our physical environment has a special meaning for me.
I am a child of the Midwest who was raised in a farming community. I understand that every human, every animal, every plant depends on the gifts of the world – air, water, arable land. I learned at the youngest of ages that crops, animals and people suffer when we do not care for the land and its gifts.
All too often today, society seeks to redefine the important issues merely in terms of the secular. The secular world’s emphases on money, advantage, personal gain and personal choice can come at the expense of the people whom God has created, and for whom He created this world and its gifts. Life cannot be lived as one instead of many; it must be lived as one for the many.
The Church has always taught that we have a special responsibility – in all areas – to make sure that the gifts of the earth are available to all, especially the poorest and least influential among us. Today, the people of this local Church of Newark stand with the Holy Father as he once again, on behalf of the universal Church, calls on everyone to use and protect our resources and climate to enrich the human family of all nations.
Pope Francis challenges us today to go beyond the political, to go beyond the economic. He says squarely, clearly, simply, that we have a “responsibility to nurture the Earth, to nurture creation, to keep it and make it grow according to its laws.” His words echo the words of Jesus Christ, who said; “Do this in memory of me.”
To read the Pope's encyclical letter, Laudato Si', On Care for Our Common Home, click here.