Creation, Nature and Environment in the Catholic Social Teaching
The environment since the 1970s has had a special place in the Catholic social teaching of the Church. In the more recent years, Pope Francis, with frankness and freshness, invites all Christians to an environmental conversion, by improving our relationships with other creatures and the world, also in view of the needs of the socially excluded and the poor, who are mentioned 61 times in his encyclical On Care For Our Common Home.
In the same letter, the Pope states that "the destruction of the human environment is extremely serious". Thus he addresses "every person living on this planet" to reflect on how society is being controlled and what place does the human being have in the world; "I propose that we focus on the dominant technocratic paradigm and the place of human beings and of human action in the world." The response would be an integral ecology which "includes taking time to recover a serene harmony with creation, reflecting on our lifestyle and our ideals, and contemplating the Creator who lives among us and surrounds us".
Rather than just nature and the environment, the Church also speaks in a wider sense about the word “creation”. While nature is usually seen as a system which can be studied, understood and controlled, creation is understood as a gift. “Every creature is thus the object of the Father’s tenderness, who gives it its place in the world. Even the fleeting life of the least of beings is the object of his love, and in its few seconds of existence, God enfolds it with his affection.”
On Care For Our Common Home
Global Catholic Climate Movement
Theology Against Land Grabbing, Sr Pat Fox
Introduction to Permaculture, Mollison Bill, 1991.
The One-Straw Revolution, Fukuolka Masanobu, 1978.