Thursday, November 5, 2015

On Care For Our Common Home - 5

5. Saint John Paul II became increasingly concerned about this issue. In his first Encyclical he warned that human beings frequently seem “to see no other meaning in their natural environment than what serves for immediate use and consumption”.[4]Subsequently, he would call for a global ecological conversion.[5] At the same time, he noted that little effort had been made to “safeguard the moral conditions for an authentic human ecology”.[6] The destruction of the human environment is extremely serious, not only because God has entrusted the world to us men and women, but because human life is itself a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement. Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in “lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies”.[7]Authentic human development has a moral character. It presumes full respect for the human person, but it must also be concerned for the world around us and “take into account the nature of each being and of its mutual connection in an ordered system”.[8] Accordingly, our human ability to transform reality must proceed in line with God’s original gift of all that is.[9]

[4] Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis (4 March 1979), 15: AAS 71 (1979), 287.
[5] Cf. Catechesis (17 January 2001), 4: Insegnamenti 41/1 (2001), 179.
[6] Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus (1 May 1991), 38: AAS 83 (1991), 841.
[7] Ibid., 58: AAS 83 (1991), p. 863.
[8] JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (30 December 1987), 34: AAS 80 (1988), 559.
[9] Cf. ID., Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus (1 May 1991), 37: AAS 83 (1991), 840.