Monday, January 21, 2013

"...Efficient Use - Not Abuse - of Natural Resources..."

The notion that Christianity is bad for the environment has been remarkably durable. Apart from wishful thinking on the part of ardent secularists, I think Victorian-era attitudes got confused with Christian teachings: and that's another topic. (October 29, 2012)

I've been taking my time with section 50 of "Caritas in Veritate," where Benedict XVI discusses responsible stewardship over nature. This is the sort of 'environmentalism' I can take seriously: which is something of a relief, since I developed 'environmental awareness' in the '60s: and never discarded it.

I've had to fine-tune what I think about environmental issues, as I learn more about what the Church teaches. Mostly, it's been a matter of my understanding more clearly why it's important to leave something for the next generation.

"That Covenant Between Human Beings and the Environment"

There's a lot going on in this excerpt:
"...This means being committed to making joint decisions 'after pondering responsibly the road to be taken, decisions aimed at strengthening that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from whom we come and towards whom we are journeying'[120]...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 50)
Benedict XVI is writing about "our grave duty to hand the earth on to future generations." It's a bit of a challenge, since we're expected to leave humanity's home in good working order when we're through: and preferably in better shape than we found it.

That inner quote, starting with "after pondering," is from something the Pope wrote for the World Day of Peace, 2008:
"...If the protection of the environment involves costs, they should be justly distributed, taking due account of the different levels of development of various countries and the need for solidarity with future generations. Prudence does not mean failing to accept responsibilities and postponing decisions; it means being committed to making joint decisions after pondering responsibly the road to be taken, decisions aimed at strengthening that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from whom we come and towards whom we are journeying...."
("Message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace 2008")
He had been saying that humanity is a family, that our home is "the earth," and that we're responsible for what we do with our home.

Catholics are expected to take responsibility very seriously: that's one stereotype that's not far from the truth, and that's yet another topic.

I'm not entirely sure what "that covenant between human beings and the environment" is. It may be connected with our being made "in the image of God." I want to think about that some more - and do a bit of research.

Natural Resources, Efficiency, and Values

"... One of the greatest challenges facing the economy is to achieve the most efficient use - not abuse - of natural resources, based on a realization that the notion of 'efficiency' is not value-free."
("Message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace 2008")
I'm about as sure as I can be that the responsibility of preparing a world for future generations does not mean keeping everything the way it is now. This world is designed to change, to be in a "state of journeying" - - - And that's yet again another topic.

More posts about "Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in Truth)
"Caritas in Veritate"

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