Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ecology and Faith in God Made Man

119. Nor must the critique of a misguided anthropocentrism underestimate the importance of interpersonal relations. If the present ecological crisis is one small sign of the ethical, cultural and spiritual crisis of modernity, we cannot presume to heal our relationship with nature and the environment without healing all fundamental human relationships. Christian thought sees human beings as possessing a particular dignity above other creatures; it thus inculcates esteem for each person and respect for others. Our openness to others, each of whom is a “thou” capable of knowing, loving and entering into dialogue, remains the source of our nobility as human persons. A correct relationship with the created world demands that we not weaken this social dimension of openness to others, much less the transcendent dimension of our openness to the “Thou” of God. Our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and with God. Otherwise, it would be nothing more than romantic individualism dressed up in ecological garb, locking us into a stifling immanence. (Laudato Si)

This paragraph is the most important one for me in the whole of the Holy Father's new encyclical dealing with ecology. Even Pope Francis realizes how voluminous and wide-ranging this document is, but I doubt if he would begrudge me my pick of N. 119.

From a practical point of view, what he writes about sober living is intuitive and speaks to me of my childhood and how well we as a large family were able to live on so little never as children sensing that we lacked for anything, But I will stay with this paragraph and say, if you can ground yourself so, all else then falls into place.

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