Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Charity Demands Environmental Awareness (and God Doesn't Make Junk)

One of my favorite bumper stickers reads:
I bought one, but never put in on a bumper. I don't 'do' bumper stickers, mostly because I don't want to reduce the resale value of a vehicle. Also because the sort of slogans I'm tempted to flaunt might get my car or van vandalized.

Getting Past Stereotypes

Besides, although I think human beings should be allowed to live: I'm not a stereotype pillager of Earth's precious resources.

On the other hand, although I'm concerned about pollution and other 'environmental issues:' I'm not a nutcase liberal neo-pagan.

I started discussing environmental awareness, Catholic teachings, and getting a grip yesterday. (April 11, 2011) I'll probably be posting on those topics a few more times before this year's Earth Day. Not because I can't think about anything besides being green, though.

Going Green for Lent??

I think one reason I like that "...we'll mine the other planets later" slogan is the decades of frightfully serious, even maudlin, cliches that led to Captain Planet. That (sarcastic?) "mine the other planets" slogan was a welcome anodyne for a topic that seems to attract humorless zealots like flies to roadkill.

I've put off digging into what the Catholic Church has to say about managing resources for some time. Earth Day's approach seemed like a good incentive to start.

Besides, reading and studying documents of the Church was on my Lenten 'to-do' list. (February 25, 2011)

Don't Christians Hate Nature and Stuff?

Despite what's written now and again in the 'better' forums: There's more to Christianity than the colorful weirdos who get their names on the news.

Gnosticism is the idea that the physical world "...is evil, the product of a fall, and is thus to be rejected or left behind...." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 285) Gnosticism is also a heresy, one of the oldest. (Catechism, 465)

God made the physical world — and God doesn't make junk. That's what I believe, but I wasn't the first to have the idea:

Catholic Teachings and the Environment

As I've said before, researching and writing these posts helps me to understand what the Holy See has to say. Turns out that environmental awareness is part of Catholic teaching on charity.

This world we have, 'the environment,' is God's gift to everybody:
  • The poor
  • Future generations
  • Humanity as a whole1
Which doesn't mean that what the world needs is "sustainable" development that's a bit like Swift's 'Modest Proposal' on a global scale.

Speaking of "sustainable" — I ran into an article on a high-end residence in Bali that featured "sustainable" wood. That had been shipped in from another part of the world. And that's another topic.

Related post:
Somewhat-related posts:

1 Charity and environmental awareness? Yes:
"48. Today the subject of development is also closely related to the duties arising from our relationship to the natural environment. The environment is God's gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole. When nature, including the human being, is viewed as the result of mere chance or evolutionary determinism, our sense of responsibility wanes. In nature, the believer recognizes the wonderful result of God's creative activity, which we may use responsibly to satisfy our legitimate needs, material or otherwise, while respecting the intrinsic balance of creation. If this vision is lost, we end up either considering nature an untouchable taboo or, on the contrary, abusing it. Neither attitude is consonant with the Christian vision of nature as the fruit of God's creation.

Nature expresses a design of love and truth. It is prior to us, and it has been given to us by God as the setting for our life. Nature speaks to us of the Creator (cf. Rom 1:20) and his love for humanity. It is destined to be 'recapitulated' in Christ at the end of time (cf. Eph 1:9-10; Col 1:19-20). Thus it too is a 'vocation'[115]. Nature is at our disposal not as 'a heap of scattered refuse'[116], but as a gift of the Creator who has given it an inbuilt order, enabling man to draw from it the principles needed in order 'to till it and keep it' (Gen 2:15). But it should also be stressed that it is contrary to authentic development to view nature as something more important than the human person. This position leads to attitudes of neo-paganism or a new pantheism - human salvation cannot come from nature alone, understood in a purely naturalistic sense. This having been said, it is also necessary to reject the opposite position, which aims at total technical dominion over nature, because the natural environment is more than raw material to be manipulated at our pleasure; it is a wondrous work of the Creator containing a 'grammar' which sets forth ends and criteria for its wise use, not its reckless exploitation. Today much harm is done to development precisely as a result of these distorted notions. Reducing nature merely to a collection of contingent data ends up doing violence to the environment and even encouraging activity that fails to respect human nature itself. Our nature, constituted not only by matter but also by spirit, and as such, endowed with transcendent meaning and aspirations, is also normative for culture. Human beings interpret and shape the natural environment through culture, which in turn is given direction by the responsible use of freedom, in accordance with the dictates of the moral law. Consequently, projects for integral human development cannot ignore coming generations, but need to be marked by solidarity and inter-generational justice, while taking into account a variety of contexts: ecological, juridical, economic, political and cultural[117].
(48, "Caritas in Veritate")

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.