Editor's Note: Later this summer, Pope Francis will release his encyclical on the environment and human ecology. The highly anticipated teaching document will be the first from a pope to focus specifically on creation and human relationship with it.
In the two years since his papacy began, Francis -- like his predecessors Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II -- has spoken regularly on environmental issues, such as protecting creation, climate change, environmental degradation and natural disasters, water, food and sustainability. As part of the lead-up to the papal encyclical, Eco Catholic will revisit key speeches, addresses and messages from Francis on environmental topics.
[Graphic: Brian Roewe; CNS photo/Paul Haring]
Jan. 18, 2015, address to young people in Manila, the Philippines (prepared remarks)
A second key area where you are called to make a contribution is in showing concern for the environment. This is not only because this country, more than many others, is likely to be seriously affected by climate change. You are called to care for creation not only as responsible citizens, but also as followers of Christ!
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Respect for the environment means more than simply using cleaner products or recycling what we use. These are important aspects, but not enough. We need to see, with the eyes of faith, the beauty of God’s saving plan, the link between the natural environment and the dignity of the human person. Men and women are made in the image and likeness of God, and given dominion over creation (cf. Gen 1:26-28). As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling.
Three months ago, your Bishops addressed these issues in a prophetic Pastoral Letter. They asked everyone to think about the moral dimension of our activities and lifestyles, our consumption and our use of the earth’s resources. Today I ask you to do this in the context of your own lives and your commitment to the building up of Christ’s kingdom.
Dear young people, the just use and stewardship of the earth’s resources is an urgent task, and you have an important contribution to make. You are the future of the Philippines. Be concerned about what is happening to your beautiful land!
ECO QUOTES ARCHIVE
Why the name 'Francis'
“These days we do not have a very good relationship with creation, do we?”
Being a Protector, Part 1
“The vocation of being a ‘protector’ … means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us.”
Being a Protector, Part 2
“This is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly.”
Life's most essential element
“Water is the most essential element for life, and the future of humanity depends on our capacity to guard it and share it.”
The gift of knowledge
“The knowledge that comes from the Holy Spirit … is a special gift, which leads us to grasp, through creation, the greatness and love of God and his profound relationship with every creature.”
To cultivate or neglect
“Cultivating and caring for creation … means making the world increase with responsibility, transforming it so that it may be a garden, an inhabitable place for us all.”
The culture of waste
“If there are children in so many parts of the world who have nothing to eat, that is not news, it seems normal. It cannot be so!”
Time is running out
“The time to find global solutions is running out. We can find appropriate solutions only if we act together and in agreement. There is therefore a clear, definitive and urgent ethical imperative to act.”
Alternative Energy Sources
“We need only think, for example, of alternative sources of energy, the development of which will assist in the protection of the environment.”
An Important Step
“I think that an important step is to tear down decisively the barriers of individualism, self withdrawal and the slavery of profit at all costs.”
Education in Humanity
“To educate in solidarity therefore means to educate ourselves in humanity: to build a society that is truly human means to put the person and his or her dignity at the centre, always, and never to sell him out to the logic of profit.”
A Case of Exclusion
“How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion.”
The fragile world
“Thanks to our bodies, God has joined us so closely to the world around us that we can feel the desertification of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement.”
People, not numbers
“Those who suffer due to food insecurity and malnutrition are people, not numbers, and precisely because of their dignity as people, they come before any calculation or economic plan.”
An inalienable right
“Hunger is criminal, food is an inalienable right.”
I had to be here
“When I witnessed his disaster from Rome, I felt that I had to be here.”