That pretty much sums it up.
If you want to read the entire message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace, which was issued by the Vatican on January 1, you can do so here.
But you’ll find the summary above, which was lifted right out of the document, really says it all concisely.
Some have called Benedict XVI “The Green Pope,” highlighting the Holy Father’s penchant for shedding light on Church teachings on environmental issues.
There’s no debating that he feels strongly about our responsibility to care for creation. Citing the relationship that God deemed appropriate between man and the created world at the Earth’s beginnings, Benedict emphasizes the importance of stewardship.
“Respect for creation is of immense consequence,” he writes, “not least because ‘creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God’s works’, and its preservation has now become essential for the pacific coexistence of mankind.”
When the pope says something is of “immense consequence,” it seems prudent to listen.
Such exhortations aren’t popular with all the faithful. Many Catholics are troubled, and rightly so, by an inappropriate elevation of environmental concerns. They worry, perhaps, that the danger in overemphasizing stewardship is a tendency to pantheism and a neo-paganism. The Holy Father acknowledges this, reminding us we must not “see the source of man’s salvation in nature alone, understood in purely naturalistic terms.”
It appears to be all about balance, something most of us need to be better schooled in.
A good dose of prudence wouldn’t hurt either. This line cuts to the quick: “I would advocate the adoption of a model of development based on the centrality of the human person, on the promotion and sharing of the common good, on responsibility, on a realization of our need for a changed life-style, and on prudence, the virtue which tells us what needs to be done today in view of what might happen tomorrow.
Just another virtue, like discipline, that I’m lacking.
If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation.
Here’s to a peaceful New Year.