USCCB News Release
December 22, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cardinal George Welcomes Pope Benedict’s Day of Peace Message, Stresses Human Ecology and Natural Ecology are Inseparable
WASHINGTON— The Catholic Church worldwide will celebrate the 43th World Day of Peace on New Year’s Day. Pope Benedict XVI has chosen “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation” as the theme for 2010 celebration.
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, welcomed Pope Benedict’s message for World Day of Peace (WDP) as he called on Catholics in the United States to work and pray for peace.
“Pope Benedict seamlessly weaves together concerns for peace, poverty and care for creation. He calls on us to act to protect both human and environmental ecology for the two are inseparably linked,” Cardinal George said.
“In union with the Holy Father, at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) we are working hard to address the moral and human dimension of the closely connected issues of poverty, peace, environmental protection and climate change. We are working to protect God’s creation and human life and dignity, to link human ecology and natural ecology because they are inseparable.”
Pope Benedict’s 2010 WDP message states that “integral human development is closely linked to the obligations which flow from man’s relationship with the natural environment. The environment must be seen as God’s gift to all people, and the use we make of it entails a shared responsibility for all humanity, especially the poor and future generations.”
The pope also poses some poignant questions.
“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? Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of “environmental refugees,” people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement? Can we remain impassive in the face of actual and potential conflicts involving access to natural resources?” Pope Benedict asks in his message.
USCCB has prepared resources to help local parishes, schools, campus ministries, and others to explore the pope’s WDP message. They include a bulletin insert and quotes, a primer on Catholic social teaching and the environment, a prayer, and stories from Catholic Relief Services that illustrate the issues alluded to in the message. They can be found at http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/worlddayofpeacewebsite.shtml.
Keywords: World Day of Peace, environment, creation, ecology, human ecology, Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal George; Justice, Peace and Human Development; Catholic Bishops, USCCB