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Orthodox Patriarch calls for ‘titanic and righteous battle’ to protect the environment

Catholic World News - September 02, 2010

The leader of the Orthodox world is calling upon Orthodox Christians to “take part in the titanic and righteous battle to alleviate the environmental crisis.”

Calling for “a standard of economic and social policy whose priority will be the environment, and not unbridled financial gain,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said that “for our Orthodox Church, the protection of the environment, as a divine and very good creation, embodies a great responsibility for every human person, regardless of material or financial benefits.”

“The direct correlation of the God-given duty and mandate, to work and preserve, with every aspect of contemporary life constitutes the only way to a harmonious co-existence with each and every element of creation, and the entirety of the natural world in general,” he added in his September 1 message for the Day of the Protection of the Environment. The day is also the beginning of the Orthodox liturgical year.

The patriarch concluded, “Let us motivate ourselves to harmonize our personal and collective life and attitudes with the needs of nature’s ecosystems, so that every kind of fauna and flora in the world and in the universe may live and thrive and be preserved.” The ecumenical patriarch’s message came three days after a similar call by Pope Benedict XVI:

On this coming 1 September, the Day for the Safeguard of Creation, promoted by the Italian Episcopal Conference, will be celebrated in Italy. It is now a customary event that is also important at the ecumenical level. This year it reminds us that there can be no peace without respect for the environment. In fact, we are duty bound to consign the earth to the new generations in such a condition that they too may live a dignified life on it and in turn continue to preserve it. May the Lord help us in this task!

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  • Posted by: lynnvinc7142 - Sep. 03, 2010 1:56 PM ET USA

    The same ethos that makes us have such a high abortion rate in the U.S., is the same one that's causing us to destroy life-chances for future generations & the others thru environmental harm. It may be some eco-freak, like Lee, could hate people & threaten to kill them (just like some fringe types kill abortion doctors), but it is impossible for a truly pro-life, anti-abortion person not to be exceedingly concerned about environmental harms & esp engaged in reducing their own harms.

  • Posted by: lynnvinc7142 - Sep. 03, 2010 12:26 PM ET USA

    Good. Too bad words from the top don't trickle down much. Worshipping the god Mammon is a much more serious problem than Gaia-worship (if at all anyone still does). God's creation is fundamental to life, whereas the economy (ownership, division of labor, exchange systems) is only contingent and instrumental; grocery stores are no good without food. Because we live in a build, controlled environment, we have a hard time realizing this, until the problems get very serious.

  • Posted by: patriot6908 - Sep. 02, 2010 3:58 PM ET USA

    The problem with these "titanic and righteous battles" is that they also encourage folks like Al Gore and James J. Lee. I love God's Earth and heavens as much as His Holiness, but the environmental problems pale in comparison to the genocide of abortion and wars or the moral depravity pandemic in our societies. Let treat those first and we will much more likely care for our bit of cosmos

  • Posted by: ltoscan2645 - Sep. 02, 2010 12:56 PM ET USA

    I totally agree with Cornelius, I would suggest that the general degredation in the west of moral religious living and the daily murder of thousands of innocent children in their mothers' wombs rates a "titanic and righteous battle". How can there ever be peace or respect for God's creation if the basic right to life is not respected first.

  • Posted by: Cornelius - Sep. 02, 2010 12:15 PM ET USA

    The environment certainly merits serious consideration, but I can think of many other evils caused by man that should be the object of a "titanic and righteous battle". The Patriarch's priorities are confused and no different from the world's.

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