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Vatican Messages


View a list of Pope Benedict’s Environmental Legacy.

Pope Urges International Agreement on Climate Change

On Nov. 25, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI addressed delegates of 194 countries gathering in Durban, South Africa for the latest round of international climate change negotiations. He urged that they reach a strong global agreement to address the challenge of climate change: I hope that all members of the international community can agree on a responsible, credible and supportive response to this worrisome and complex phenomenon, keeping in mind the needs of the poorest populations and of future generations. Click here for the story from Vatican Radio.

Pope Benedict recalled St. Francis’s Canticle of the Creatures

In an address to students in November 2011,  the Pope stated that Friar Francis, faithful to Sacred Scripture, invites us to recognize nature as a stupendous book, that speaks to us of God, of his beauty and of his goodness.

Message on the occasion of World Food Day 2011 

[A]griculture work…must not be considered a secondary activity, but as the objective of every strategy of growth and integral development. He continues, This is still more important if we keep in mind that the availability of foods is increasingly conditioned by the volatility of prices and sudden climatic changes.
[T]he future of the human family is in need of a new impulse to overcome present fragilities and uncertainties. Although we live in a global dimension, there are evident signs of the profound division between those who lack daily sustenance and those who have many resources, using them often for ends other than food and even  destroying them.
-Pope Benedict XVI, World Food Day Message, 10/17/2011
Read more here.

The Listening Heart: Reflections on the Foundations of Law

I would say that the emergence of the ecological movement in German politics since the 1970s, while it
has not exactly flung open the windows, nevertheless was and continues to be a cry for fresh air which
must not be ignored or pushed aside, just because too much of it is seen to be irrational. Young people
had come to realize that something is wrong in our relationship with nature, that matter is not just
raw material for us to shape at will, but that the earth has a dignity of its own and that we must follow its
directives. In saying this, I am clearly not promoting any particular political party – nothing could be
further from my mind. If something is wrong in our relationship with reality, then we must all reflect
seriously on the whole situation and we are all prompted to question the very foundations of our
culture. Allow me to dwell a little longer on this point. The importance of ecology is no longer
disputed. We must listen to the language of nature and we must answer accordingly.
-Pope Benedict XVI to Reichstag Building, Berlin, 9/22/2011
To read the entire address, click here.

Vatican Releases Major Climate Change Report

A working group of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, one of the oldest scientific institutes in the world, issued a sobering report (5/6/11) on the impacts for humankind as a result of the global retreat of mountain glaciers as a result of human activity leading to climate change.  In their declaration, the working group calls, “on all people and nations to recognize the serious and potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and by changes in forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other land uses.”  Read summary here.   View entire report here.   Hear the Working Group co-chair, Veerabhadran Ramanathan interviewed by Coalition director, Dan Misleh.

Concerned About Copenhagen, Pope Benedict XVI Urges New Agreement

In an address to the diplomatic corps serving the Holy See, Pope Benedict reiterated themes from his World Day of Peace Message and also said, I share the growing concern caused by economic and political resistance to combating the degradation of the environment. This problem was evident [at the meeting in Denmark last December]. He expressed hope that an agreement will be reached in the Bonn and Mexico City meetings this year. He continued to make clear the connections between the respect for human life and respect for Creation. If we wish to build true peace, how can we separate, or even set at odds, the protection of the environment and the protection of human life, including the life of the unborn? It is in man’s respect for himself that his sense of responsibility for creation is shown. To see his address to the diplomatic corps, click here.    

Benedict’s World Day of Peace Message calls attention to “the problems associated with climate change”

In a wide-ranging, prophetic, and challenging World Day of Peace message on climate change and environmental justice, Pope Benedict recalled for all of us our biblical tradition, highlighted teachings from previous popes and implored us to, rethink the path which we are traveling together.[5] The Holy Father poses challenging questions including, 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… and  the growing phenomenon of ‘environmental refugees?‘ We urge you to read the entire statement, If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation.

A parish/school resource/study guide from the USCCB on the World Day of Peace message is available here

Pope Sends Powerful Message to Climate Change Summit
view video here

Pope Benedict XVI sent a compelling message to those gathering at the 2009 Summit on Climate Change when he conveyed his “support to leaders of governments and international agencies who soon will meet at the United Nations to discuss the urgent issue of climate change…. How important it is then, that the international community and individual governments send the right signals to their citizens and succeed in countering harmful ways of treating the environment!…The protection of the environment, and the safeguarding of resources and of the climate, oblige all leaders to act jointly, respecting the law and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the world” (Caritas in Veritate, no. 50).
Read the entire statement

Holy Father’s Easter Message Highlights Climate Change

Our beloved Pope links the threat of climate change with so many other threats to life and dignity in his annual Easter message:

“At a time of world food shortage, of financial turmoil, of old and new forms of poverty, of disturbing climate change, of violence and deprivation which force many to leave their homelands in search of a less precarious form of existence, of the ever-present threat of terrorism, of growing fears over the future, it is urgent to rediscover grounds for hope. Let no one draw back from this peaceful battle that has been launched by Christ’s Resurrection. For as I said earlier, Christ is looking for men and women who will help him to affirm his victory using his own weapons: the weapons of justice and truth, mercy, forgiveness and love.
-Pope Benedict XVI, Urbi et Orbi, Easter 2009
Read the entire statement

“The brutal consumption of Creation begins where God is not, where matter is henceforth only material for us, where we ourselves are the ultimate demand, where the whole is merely our property and we consume it for ourselves alone…I think, therefore, that true and effective initiatives to prevent the waste and destruction of Creation can be implemented and developed, understood and lived, only where Creation is considered as beginning with God.”
-Pope Benedict XVI, August 2008
Read the entire statement

“…make the responsibilities visible so that we may respond to this great challenge: to rediscover the Face of the Creator in Creation, to rediscover in the Creator’s presence our responsibilities for his Creation, which he has entrusted to us, to form the ethical capacity for a lifestyle that we must adopt if we wish to tackle the problems of this situation [of climate change] and if we really want to reach positive solutions.

“Do not be fooled by those who see you as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth…”

“My dear friends, God’s creation is one and it is good. The concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity.”
-Pope Benedict XVI at World Youth Day, June 2008
Read the entire statement

The gradual depletion of the ozone layer and the related ‘greenhouse effect’ has now reached crisis proportions as a consequence of industrial growth, massive urban concentrations and vastly increased energy needs. Industrial waste, the burning of fossil fuels, unrestricted deforestation, the use of certain types of herbicides, coolants and propellants: all of these are known to harm the atmosphere and environment. The resulting meteorological and atmospheric changes range from damage to health to the possible future submersion of low-lying lands.
Pope John Paul II, World Day of Peace Message, 1990, #6
Read the entire statement