Sunday, April 26, 2009

Can you name an environmental group? How about the Vatican?

When you think environmental activism, the first group you think of is probably not the Vatican and the Catholic Church. However, the Pope and tbhe Vatican have been promoting environmental causes for quite some time. Most recently, the Vatican announced plans to build the world's largest solar plant. A solar plant is a large collection of solar panels to capture energy. This plant will produce enough energy for 40,000 homes. This is simply incredible. For years, the Vatican has been promoting our proper response to the environment. Our Catholic faith teaches us that we are stewards of the environment and that we must protect it.

Some people believe the Vatican is behind the times, but this once again proves the opposite. In promoting renewable energy, the Vatican is sending a message to the world. But why do so many people insist that the Vatican and the Catholic Church are outdated? The reason does not come from the evidence, but rather from peoples' desires to be free from any moral code. But this is shortsighted, because ultimately the Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ almost 2,000 years ago, is looking out for people's best interest.

Right from the start, the Church has told people to be good stewards of the Earth and to protect it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

Respect for the integrity of creation 2415 The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity.195 Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.196

2416 Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory.197 Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals.

2417 God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image.198 Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.

2418 It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.

The Pope has spoken out against pollution, destruction of the environment, and more. Catholic groups such as Development and Peace have been at the forefront of ensuring that water companies do not exploit everyone's God-given rights to clean water.

As you see, protecting the environment is what we are called to do as Catholics.

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