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December 25 2009 £2.40 (Republic of Ireland €3.60)
We must act now to save earth, says Pope
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BY CINDY WOODEN AND ED WEST
THE DEGRADATION of the environment is a pressing moral problem that threatens peace and human life itself, Pope Benedict XVI has said.
In a message for World Peace Day, January 1 2010, the Pope said: “We cannot remain indifferent to what is happening around us, for the deterioration of any one part of the planet affects us all.”
He said that governments, multinationals and individuals all had an impact on the environment, and while the future of the world hung in the balance because of what people are doing today, the negative effects of pollution and environmental exploitation can already be seen.
He asked: “Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions?”
Already, he said, the world was seeing the “growing phenomenon of ‘environmental refugees’, people who were forced by the degradation of their natural habitat” to migrate in search of food, water and unpolluted air. “It is becoming more and more evident that the issue of environmental degradation challenges us to examine our lifestyle and the prevailing models of consumption and production, which are often unsustainable from a social, environmental and even economic point of view,” the Pope said.
In addition, he wrote of the “actual and potential conflicts involving access to natural resources”.
“Protecting the natural environment in order to build a world of peace is thus a duty incumbent upon each and all. It is an urgent challenge, one to be faced with renewed and concerted commitment; it is also a providential opportunity to hand down to coming generations the prospect of a better future for all,” the Pope wrote.
Presenting the message to the press, Cardinal Renato Martino, the recently retired president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said Pope Benedict “does not propose technical solutions or interfere in government policies. Rather, he recalls the Church’s commitment to defending the earth, water and air, which are the creator’s gifts to humanity”. With the suffering that environmental destruction is already causing, and the devastation it will wreak in the future, the Pope’s message said, “humanity
Filipinos attend Mass in Advent outside St Joseph Church in Manila needs a profound cultural renewal; it needs to rediscover those values which can serve as the solid basis for building a brighter future for all”.
“Our present crises – be they economic, food-related, environmental or social – are ultimately also moral crises and all of them are interrelated,” Pope Benedict wrote.
Earlier this month leaders from most of the world’s nations met in Copenhagen for the UN Climate Change Conference to discuss reducing their carbon emissions. The Pope said that solving the crises would require people to work together and take responsibility for their own actions. Specifically, a solution would require “a lifestyle marked by sobriety and solidarity, with new rules and forms of engagement, one which focuses confidently and courageously on strategies that actually work, while decisively rejecting those that have failed”.
Christians believe the entire cosmos was created by God, who drew harmony out of chaos, the Pope said. Human sin – Adam and Eve’s desire to take the place of God and their refusal to recognise that they, too, were his creatures – disrupted that harmony. When the Bible said that God made man and woman in his image and gave them dominion over the earth, the Pope said, it meant God called them to be stewards of creation, drawing from the earth what they needed and safeguarding its riches for future generations.
“Sad to say, it is all too evident that large numbers of people in different countries and areas of our planet are experi
RoiAzure, Reuters encing increased hardship because of the negligence or refusal of many others to exercise responsible stewardship over the environment,” the Pope said.
The Holy Father ended his message with a plea to “all believers to raise a fervent prayer to God, the all-powerful creator and the father of mercies, so that all men and women may take to heart the urgent appeal: if you want to cultivate peace, protect creation”.
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Pope cites another holy Briton, John of Salisbury, as a role model
BY ANNA ARCO
THE POPE has offered yet another Briton, John of Salisbury, as a model to Catholics, using his example to insist that natural law is the only defence against euthanasia, abortion, same-sex unions and assaults on religious freedom.
The Holy Father used the writings of the sagacious 12thcentury scholar during his weekly catechesis to emphasise the importance of natural law. He said that only laws which protect the sanctity of human life were equitable. He also argued that the medieval sage identified “the tyranny of the sovereign” which the Pope compared with the “dictatorship of relativism”.
Saints and thinkers connected to Britain and Ireland have featured prominently in the Pope’s weekly catechesis. In the past he has used the lives and writings of St Boniface, St Anselm, St Augustine of Canterbury, St Bede and the Irish St Columbanus in his addresses to the faithful every Wednesday.
Speaking at his Wednesday general audience he speculated that John of Salisbury “would remind us today that only those laws are equitable that protect the sanctity of human life and reject the legalisation of abortion, euthanasia and limitless genetic experimentation, those laws that respect the dignity of matrimony between a man and a woman, that are inspired in a correct secularity of state –
secularity that always includes the protection of religious liberty – and that pursue subsidiarity and solidarity at the national and international level”.
He said: “If not, what John of Salisbury calls the ‘tyranny of the sovereign’ or, what we would call ‘the dictatorship of relativism’, ends up taking over – a relativism that, as I recalled some years ago, ‘recognises nothing as definitive and that has as its measure only the self and its desires’.”
John Paul II and Pius XII ‘Venerable’
Cardinal gives golf jersey to Terry Wogan
BY STAFF REPORTER
BENEDICT XVI has declared his predecessors John Paul II and Pius XII Venerable.
The Vatican announced on Saturday that the Pope had recognised the heroic virtues of both pontiffs. They are now eligible for beatification if a miracle is attributed to their intercession.
The decision to move Pius XII’s Cause forward is likely to prove controversial as Jewish groups had asked for the Cause to be frozen amid claims that Pius did not speak out strongly enough against the Holocaust – claims contested by several leading historians.
On the same day, Pope Benedict declared Venerable the British nun Mary Ward, approved the canonisation of Mary MacKillop, who will become Australia’s first native-born saint, and recognised the murder of Polish priest Fr Jerzy Popiełuszko as a martyrdom, preparing the way for his beatification.
BY BRIGITTE ISTIM
CARDINAL Cormac MurphyO’Connor has presented Terry Wogan with a classic diamond pattern golfing jersey to mark his retirement from his hugely popular Radio 2 show, Wake up to Wogan.
Speaking on the show the Cardinal said: “Everyone will miss you Terry... I have this little gift for you since I know you play golf.”
He added: “I’m flying this afternoon to Rome to attend a meeting and if I happen to see Pope Benedict I will tell him that his mornings are to be different because there will be no Terry Wogan to listen to.”
Wogan has been a keen golfer for years and the Cardinal is known to like the occasional round.
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