Defense of 'human ecology' must come first, Pope reminds Brazilian bishops
March 09, 2011
Pope Benedict XVI endorsed a Lenten environmental campaign backed by the Brazilian Catholic bishops—with the important proviso that “the first ecology to be defended is ‘human ecology.’”
In a message to the Brazilian hierarchy, the Pope gave his support to their annual Fraternity Campaign, which is directed this year toward concern for the ecology. The Holy Father observed that “the first step towards a correct relationship with the world around us is the recognition by humans of their status as created beings. Man is not God; he is His image. For this reason he must seek to be more sensitive to the presence of God in his surroundings.”
Echoing the words of St. Paul to the Romans, the Pope said that “creation groans with labor pains.” The world has always struggled, the Pontiff said, because of “the damage caused to creation by human selfishness.” On a deeper level, he continued, the struggle involves man’s search for “the full meaning of life in his own heart.” Only when man knows the truth about life is he ready to show proper respect for all of creation, the Pope argued.
In his reference to “human ecology,” the Pope said:
Without a clear defense of human life from conception until natural death; without a defense of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman; without an authentic defense of those excluded and marginalized by society-- not overlooking, in this context, those who have lost everything in natural calamities-- we will never be able to speak of authentic protection of the environment.