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Vatican cardinal examines Pope’s teaching on environment

May 10, 2012

Pope Benedict’s teaching on ecology helps Catholics to avoid extremes in thinking about the environment, according to the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Nature is “neither taboo (beyond human touch) nor should it be subjected to abuse,” writes Cardinal Peter Turkson. “Similarly, ‘nature’ is not more important than ‘human,’ but equally the ‘human’ must not presume to have the monopoly on all meaning and design in ‘nature.’”

Cardinal Turkson laments “the chronic social injustices that force the poor into agricultural practices which result in wanton deforestation, erosion, desertification; or the warmongering that leaves devastated landscapes in its wake.” The prelate adds that

Pope Benedict goes on to develop “the links between natural ecology, or respect for nature, and human ecology. Experience shows that disregard for the environment always harms human coexistence, and vice versa.” And the vital importance of human ecology rests in this: to “protect mankind from self-destruction. … If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology.”


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