My Dear Parish Family,
For those among us who only “go green” on Saint Patrick’s Day, note that today is Earth Day – a day when people around the world plead their case for Mother Earth. Many, though, remain skeptical about a show of support for a world that is passing. To that end, I looked to see what the leader of our Church had to say and was surprised to find that Pope Benedict XVI, not known for being a granola-munching liberal, updated the pop-justice slogan in 2010 by declaring: “If You Want Peace, Protect Creation.”
Calling governments, corporations, and individuals to account, the Holy Father asked, “Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes, and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions?”
In saying that, Pope Benedict added his voice to that of Pope Paul VI, who pointed out that by exploiting nature, we create wide-ranging social problems that concern the entire human family. Pope John Paul II noted decades ago that “world peace is threatened” by a lack of due respect for nature. And I would go so far as to say that all peace and right order is threatened by a lack of due respect for all life.
We see it in our own country with the escalation of violence in our cities, town and homes. We have tried to legislate respect through enacting ‘bullying laws’ and ‘hate crime’ legislation. But it can all be traced to a lack of respect for life – each and every life. Today, I encourage us all to look around and for all the good you see, let’s give thanks and pledge to protect it.