Water, we are informed, is "powerful wet stuff." But the Dufflepuds who make that profound observation in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader have nothing on Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who favors us with the revelation that "the Social Doctrine of the Church recognises the nature of water as life- giving."
The "Social Doctrine of the Church," mind you-- in case your 3rd-grade science textbook wasn't enough to convince you.
And while you're still reeling from the force of that insight Cardinal Martino hits you again, noting that water is also used in Baptism. Betcha didn't see that one coming!
The cardinal-- whose keen analytical powers were honed in the lively debates at the UN, where he was the Vatican's permanent observer for several years-- was introducing reporters to the exhibit his office will present at "Expo Zaragoza 2008," an event dedicated to discussion of "Water and sustainable development." Cardinal Martino is evidently prepared to discuss that subject (or any other subject) at some length, and it's a shame that the Vatican Information Service gives us only a quick summary of his presentation at a May 19 press conference. But I'm sure the VIS reporter is friendly, so that summary doubtless contains the most scintillating passages from the cardinal's talk.
You may now be wondering whether the Social Doctrine of the Church sheds any light on the burning question of whether air, too, is essential to life. Possibly Cardinal Martino will address that topic at his next press conference. Which, given his track record, will probably take place very soon.
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