Full English Translation of Pope Francis' Climate and Environmental Encyclical, 'Laudato Si': Chapter Two

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 18 Jun 2015 03:57:00 GMT

The leaked draft of “Laudato Si’”, Pope Francis’ widely anticipated encyclical on the crisis of climate change and other global environmental concerns, contains 146 numbered paragraphs in a preface and six chapters. The translation below is very rough, a Google translation amended by Brad Johnson.


Table of Contents


62. Why include in this document, addressed to all people of good will, a chapter related to the convictions of faith? I am aware that, in the field of politics and thought, some strongly reject the idea of a Creator, or consider it irrelevant, the point to be relegated to the realm of the irrational wealth that religions can make for integral ecology and for the full development of the human race. Other times it is assumed that they account for a subculture that simply must be tolerated. However, science and religion, which provide different approaches to reality, may come into a sustained and productive dialogue for both.

I. The light that faith offers

63. If we take into account the complexity of the ecological crisis and its multiple causes, we should recognize that the solutions can not come from a single way to interpret and transform reality. It is necessary to resort to diverse cultural riches of the peoples, art and poetry, to the inner life and spirituality. If you really want to build an ecology that allows us to fix everything that we destroyed, then no branch of science, and no form of wisdom can be neglected, even the religious one with its own language. Moreover, the Catholic Church is open to dialogue with philosophical thought, and this allows it to produce various synthesis between faith and reason. As for social issues, this can be seen in the development of the social doctrine of the Church, called to enrich themselves even more from the new challenges.

64. On the other hand, even though this Encyclical opens a dialogue with everyone to search together for ways of liberation, I want to show from the beginning as the beliefs of the Christian faith offer, and partly to other believers, high motivation to take care of nature and of our more fragile brothers and sisters. If the mere fact of being human moves people to take care of the environment of which they are part, “Christians, in particular, feel that their tasks within creation and their duty towards nature and the Creator are part of their faith.”[36 John Paul II, Message for the World Day of Peace 1990, 15: AAS 82 (1990), 156.] Therefore, it is good for humanity and for the world that we believers better recognize the ecological commitments arising from our beliefs.

II. The wisdom of the biblical stories

65. Without reproducing here the whole theology of Creation, we wonder what the great biblical stories tell us about the relationship between human beings and the world. In the first story of the creative work in the book of Genesis, God’s plan includes the creation of mankind. After the creation of man and woman, it is said that “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31). The Bible teaches that every human being is created out of love, made in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:26). This statement shows us the immense dignity of every human person, which “is not just something, but someone. It is capable of knowing, self-possession, free self-giving and entering into communion with others.” [37 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 357.] St. John Paul II recalled how the very special love that the Creator has for each human being “gives infinite dignity.” [38 See Angelus in Osnabrück (Germany) with people with disabilities, 16 November 1980: Teachings 3/2 (1980), 1232.] Those who engage in the defense of human dignity can find in the Christian faith the deeper reasons for this commitment. It certainly is wonderful to know that the life of every person is not lost in a hopeless chaos, in a world ruled by pure chance or by cycles that repeat nonsense! The Creator can say to each of us: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jer 1,5). We were conceived in the heart of God and therefore “each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.” [39 Benedict XVI, Homily for the solemn inauguration of the Petrine ministry (24 April 2005): AAS 97 (2005), 711.]

66. The accounts of creation in Genesis contain, in their symbolic language and narrative, profound teachings on human existence and its historical reality. These stories suggest that human existence is based on three fundamental, closely related relationships: the relationship with God, the one with our neighbor and the one with the earth. According to the Bible, these three vital relationships are broken, not only outside, but also within us. This break is sin. The harmony between the Creator, mankind and all creation has been destroyed for us through having claimed to take the place of God and having refused to recognize ourselves as limited creatures. This has distorted the nature of the mandate to subdue the earth (cf. Gen 1:28) and to grow it and keep it (cf. Gen 2:15). As a result, the originally harmonious relationship between human beings and nature has turned into a conflict (cf. Gen 3,17-19). It is therefore significant that the harmony that St. Francis of Assisi lived with all creatures has been interpreted as a healing of this rupture. St. Bonaventure said that through the universal reconciliation with all creatures in some way Francis was returned to the state of original innocence. [40 See Legenda Maior, VIII, 1: FF 1134.] Far from that model, today sin is manifested by all its strength of destruction in wars, in the various forms of violence and abuse, abandonment of the most fragile, in the attacks against nature.

67. We are not God. The earth came before us and was given to us. This allows you to answer an accusation launched against the Jewish-Christian thought: it was said that, from the Genesis account that invites you to subdue the earth (cf. Gen 1:28), would be favored the uncontrolled exploitation of nature by presenting an image of the human being as domineering and destructive. This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church. Although it is true that sometimes Christians have interpreted the Scriptures incorrectly, today we must reject with force that from being created in the image of God and the mandate to subdue the earth we can deduce an absolute dominion over other creatures. It is important to read the biblical texts in their context, with a right hermeneutic, and remember that they invite us to “till and keep” the garden of the world (cf. Gen 2:15). While “till” means to plow or work soil, “keep” means protect, heal, preserve, maintain, supervise. This implies a mutual responsibility between human beings and nature. Each community can take the goodness of the earth what they need for their survival, but also has a duty to protect it and ensure continuity of its fertility for future generations. Ultimately, “the earth is the Lord’s” (Ps 24.1), belongs to him, “the earth and all that therein is” (Deut 10:14). Therefore, God denies any claim of freehold: “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine and you are but aliens and at guests” (25:23).

68. This responsibility before of an earth that belongs to God, implies that the human being, endowed with intelligence, respecting the laws of nature and the delicate balance between the beings of this world, because “he commanded and they were created. And it established them for ever forever; He has set a decree which shall not pass” (Ps 148,5b-6). It follows that the biblical law is to stop proposing to human beings various standards, not only in relation to other human beings, but also in relation to other living beings: “If you see the ass of your brother or his ox fell along the way, do not pretend to not hide thyself from them [...]. When, along the way, you find a tree or on the ground a bird’s nest or eggs and the mother who is brooding birds or the eggs, do not take the mother who is with the children “(Dt 22,4.6). In this line, the rest of the seventh day is proposed not only for humans, but also “so that your ox and your donkey can enjoy quiet ” (Exodus 23:12). So we realize that the Bible does not give rise to a despotic anthropocentrism without the interests of other creatures.

69. While we can make responsible use of things, we are called to recognize that other living things have a value in front of God and “with their mere existence they bless him and give him glory,” [41 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2416.] because the Lord rejoices in his works (cf. Ps 104,31). Because of his unique dignity and being endowed with intelligence, the human being is called to respect creation with its domestic laws, since “the Lord founded the earth with wisdom” (Proverbs 3:19). Today the Church does not say in a simplistic way that other creatures are completely subordinated to the good of the human being, as if they have a value in themselves and we could dispose of at will. So the Bishops of Germany explained that all creatures “one could talk about the priority of being, compared to being useful.” [42 German Bishops’ Conference, Zukunft der Schöpfung – Zukunft der Menschheit. Erklärung der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz zu Fragen der Umwelt und der Energieversorgung (1980), II, 2.] The Catechism puts into question in a very direct and insistant manner that it would be a deviant anthropocentrism: “Every creature has its own goodness and his own perfection [...] The various creatures, willed in their own being, reflect, each in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. For this man must respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid disordered use of things. ” [43 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 339.]

70. In the story of Cain and Abel, we see that jealousy drove Cain to take the extreme injustice against his brother. This in turn has caused a breakdown in the relationship between Cain and God and between Cain and the earth, from which he was exiled. This step is summarized in the dramatic dialogue between God and Cain. God asks, “Where is Abel your brother?”. Cain says he does not know and God insists: “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the land! Now you are cursed, away from [this] land” (Gen 4.9 to 11). Neglecting the commitment to cultivate and maintain a proper relationship with others, for which I have a duty of care and custody, it destroys my inner relationship with myself, with others, with God and with the land. When all these relations are neglected, when justice does not live on earth, the Bible tells us that all life is in danger. This is what the story of Noah tells us, when God threatens to wipe out humanity for its continuing failure to live up to the demands of justice and peace: “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.”(Gen 6:13). In these stories so ancient, and rich with deep symbolism, was already contained a conviction heard today: that everything is related, and that the genuine care of our own life and our relationship with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and loyalty towards others.

71. Although “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Gen 6.5) and God “regretted having made man on the earth” (Gen 6.6), however, through Noah, who still retained integrity and fairness, God decided to open a path to salvation. Thus it gave mankind the possibility of a new beginning. It is enough that there is a good man because there is hope! The biblical tradition makes it clear that this rehabilitation involves the re-discovery and compliance with the rhythms inscribed in nature from the hand of the Creator. This is seen, for example, in the law of Shabbat. On the seventh day, God rested from all his works. God commanded Israel that every seventh day was to be celebrated as a day of rest, one Shabbat (cf. Gen 2,2-3; Ex 16,23; 20,10). Similarly, a year off was established to Israel and its land, every seven years (cf. Lv 25.1 to 4), in which he allowed a complete rest to the land, not sowed and gathered only that needed to survive and offer hospitality (cf. Lv 25.4 to 6). Finally, when seven weeks of years, that is forty-nine years, elapsed, he celebrated the jubilee year of forgiveness and universal “liberation in the land to all its inhabitants” (Lev 25:10). The development of this legislation has sought to ensure the balance and fairness in the relationship of human beings with each other and with the land where he lived and worked. But, at the same time, it was a recognition of the fact that the gift of the earth with its fruits belong to all the people. Those who cultivated and guarded the territory had to share the fruits, especially with the poor, widows, orphans and strangers: “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of the field, nor reap what remains to be glean the harvest; As for your vineyard, you do not gather the gleanings or gather the fallen grapes: Leave them for the poor and the alien “(Lev 19.9 to 10).

72. The Psalms invite frequently the human being to praise God the Creator, the One who “spread out the earth upon the waters, for his love endures forever” (Ps 136,6). But they also invite other creatures to praise: “Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all shining stars. Praise him, highest heavens and you waters above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created “(Ps 148.3-5). We exist not only through the power of God, but in front of Him and with Him. Thus we adore him.

73. The writings of the prophets invite us to regain strength in difficult moments contemplating the powerful God who created the universe. The infinite power of God does not bring us to escape his paternal tenderness, because in Him love and strength are combined. In fact, every healthy spirituality implies at the same time we receive divine love and worship the Lord with trust in his infinite power. In the Bible, the God who liberates and saves is the same that created the universe, and these two ways of acting divine are intimately and inextricably linked: “Ah, Lord God, with your great power and your strength you did create heaven and earth; nothing for you is impossible [...]. You took your people out of Egypt to Israel with signs and wonders” (Jer 32,17.21). “Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak”(Is 40,28b-29).

74. The experience of slavery in Babylon brought about a spiritual crisis that led to a deepening of faith in God, explaining his creative omnipotence, to exhort the people to find hope in the midst of their unhappy situation. Centuries later, in another time of trial and persecution, when the Roman Empire tried to impose an absolute rule, the faithful returned to find comfort and hope by increasing their trust in Almighty God, and sang: “Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are your ways!” (Rev 15,3). If God could create the universe out of nothing, he can also intervene in this world and defeat every form of evil. Therefore, the injustice is not invincible.

75. We cannot support a spirituality that forgets God the almighty and creator. In this way, we would end up worshiping other powers of the world, or we would place ourselves in the seat of the Lord, so far as to purport to tread upon the reality created by Him without knowing the limit. The best way to place the human being in his place and put an end to his claim to be an absolute ruler of the earth, is to return to propose the figure of a Father creator and sole master of the world, because otherwise the human being will always tend to want to impose on reality his own laws and his own interests.

III. The mystery of the universe

76. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, to say “creation” is to say nature, because it has to do with a loving plan of God, where every creature has a value and meaning. Nature is often understood as a system that analyzes itself, comprises itself and manages itself, but the creation can only be understood as a gift which flows from the open hand of the Father of all, as a reality illuminated by the love that calls us to a universal communion.

77. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made” (Ps 33.6). So it is indicated that the world comes from a decision, not by chaos or randomness, and this implies even more. There is a free choice expressed in the creative word. The universe is not born as a result of arbitrary omnipotence, of a show of force or a desire for self-affirmation. The creation belongs to the command of love. The love of God is the fundamental reason of all creation: “For you love all things that exist and not try disgust for any of the things which you have made; if you had hated something, you would not have formed “(Wisdom 11:24). So, every creature is the subject of the tenderness of the Father, which gives her a place in the world. Even the ephemeral life of the most insignificant being is the subject of his love, and in those few seconds of existence, He surrounds them with his affection. St. Basil the Great said that the Creator is also “the goodness without calculation,” [44 Hom. in Hexaemeron, 1, 2, 10: PG 29, 9.] and Dante Alighieri spoke of “the love that moves the sun and other stars.” [45 Divine Comedy. Paradiso, Canto XXXIII, 145.] Therefore, the works created ascend “up to his loving mercy.” [46 Benedict XVI, catechesis (Nov. 9, 2005), 3: Insegnamenti1 (2005), 768.]

78. At the same time, Jewish-Christian thought has demythologized nature. Without stopping to admire it for its beauty and its immensity, it has not been given a more divine character. In this way our commitment to it will be further underscored. A return to nature can not be at the expense of the freedom and responsibility of the human being, who is the part of the world with the task of cultivating their ability to protect and develop its potential. If we recognize the value and fragility of nature, and at the same time the capabilities that the Creator has given us, this allows us to end the modern myth of unlimited material progress. A fragile world, with a human being to whom God entrusted its care, challenges our intelligence to recognize how we should orient, cultivate and limit our power.

79. In this universe, composed of open systems that come into communication with each other, we can find many forms of relationship and participation. This also leads us to think about the set as open to the transcendence of God, in which it develops. Faith enables us to interpret the meaning and the mysterious beauty of what happens. Human freedom can offer its intelligent contribution towards a positive development, but it can also add new evils, new causes of suffering and moments of retreat. This gives rise to the thrilling and dramatic human story, capable of being transformed into a hive of liberation, growth, salvation and love, or in a process of decay and of mutual destruction. Therefore, the action of the Church not only tries to remember the duty to take care of nature, but at the same time “must above all protect mankind against the destruction of himself.” [47 Id., Lett. Enc. Caritas in Veritate (29 June 2009), 51: AAS 101 (2009), 687.]

80. Nevertheless, God, who wants to work with us and rely on our collaboration, it is also able to take something good from the evil that we do, because “the Holy Spirit has infinite inventiveness, proper to the divine mind, who knows cater to untie the knots of human affairs even more complex and impenetrable. ” [48 John Paul II, Catechesis (24 April 1991), 6: Teachings 14/1 (1991), 856.] In some way, he wanted to limit himself to create a world in need of development, where many things that we consider evil , hazards or sources of suffering, in reality are part of the pain of childbirth, which encourage us to collaborate with the Creator. [49 The Catechism teaches that God wanted to create a world on the way up to its ultimate perfection, and that this implies a physical presence of imperfection and evil: cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 310.] He is present in the most intimate of all things without affecting the autonomy of her child, and this gives rise to the legitimate autonomy of earthly realities. [50 cf. Conc. Vatican Ecumenical Council. Vat. II, Const. past. Gaudium et Spes on the Church in the Modern World, 36.] This divine presence, which ensures continuity and development of all beings, “is a continuation of the creative action.” [51 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae I, q. 104, art. 1 to 4.] The Spirit of God filled the universe with the potential to allow that from the womb of the same things can always sprout something new: “Nature is nothing but the reason for some art, especially of divine art, inscribed in things, so the same things are moving toward a certain end. As if the master shipbuilder could allow the timber to move by itself to take the shape of the ship.” [52 Id., In octo libros Physicorum Aristotelis expositio, lib. II, lectio 14.]

81. The human being, although suppose also evolutionary processes, involves a novelty not fully explained by the evolution of other open systems. Each of us has a personal identity itself able to enter into dialogue with others and with God himself. The capacity for reflection, reasoning, creativity, interpretation, processing and other artistic skills original show a singularity that transcends the physical and biological. The new quality implied by the rise of a personal being inside the material universe presupposes a direct action of God, a special call to the life and relationship of a You to another you. Starting from the biblical texts, we consider the person as a subject, which can never be reduced to the category of object.

82. However, it would also be wrong to think that other living beings should be regarded as mere objects subject to the arbitrary rule of the human being. When you propose a vision of nature only as an object of profit and interest, it also carries serious consequences for society. The vision that strengthens the will of the stronger favored immense inequality, injustice and violence for most of humanity, because resources become the property of the first come, or one that has more power: the winner takes all. The ideal of harmony, justice, brotherhood and peace that Jesus offers is the opposite of that model, and so he expressed it, referring to the powers of his time: “The rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their leaders oppress them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Mt 20.25 to 26).

83. The goal of the journey of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been achieved by the risen Christ, the center of universal maturity. [53 In this perspective, there is the contribution of Father Teilhard de Chardin; cf. Paul VI, Address on a chemical-pharmaceutical factory (24 February 1966): Teachings 4 (1966), 992- 993; John Paul II, Letter to the Reverend Father George V. Coyne (June 1, 1988): Teachings 11/2 (1988), 1715; Benedict XVI, Homily at Vespers in Aosta (July 24, 2009): Teachings 5/2 (2009), 60.] In this way, we add an additional argument to reject any despotic and irresponsible dominion of the human being over the other creatures. We are not the ultimate goal of the other creatures. Instead all advance, together with us and through us, towards the common goal, which is God, in a transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illuminates everything. The human being, in fact, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn to the fullness of Christ, is called to bring all creatures to their Creator.

IV. The message of every creature in the harmony of all creation

84. To insist in saying that the human being is the image of God should not make us forget that every creature has a function and nothing is superfluous. All the material universe is a language of God, of his boundless love for us. Soil, water, mountains, everything is God’s caress. The story of one’s friendship with God develops more in a geographical space that becomes a very personal mark, and everyone keeps in mind the places whose memories are so good. He who grew up in the mountains, or a child who was sitting beside the stream to drink, or who played in a square of his neighborhood, when he returns to those places feels called to recover his identity.

85. God has written a wonderful book, “whose letters are the multitude of creatures in the universe.” [54 John Paul II, Catechesis (30 January 2002), 6: Teachings 25/1 (2002), 140.] The bishops of Canada have expressed well that no creature is out of this manifestation of God: “Come over to the sweeping vistas more slender forms of life, nature is a constant source of wonder and reverence. It is also a continuing revelation of the divine. ” [55 Conference of Catholic Bishops of Canada. Social Affairs Committee, Pastoral Letter “You Love All That Exists … All Things Are Yours, God, Lover of Life” (4 October 2003), 1.] The Bishops of Japan, for their part, have said something very striking: “Perceiving every creature who sings the anthem of its existence is to live with joy in God’s love and hope. ” [56 Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, Reverence for Life. A Message for the Twenty-First Century (1 January 2001), 89.] This contemplation of creation allows us to discover everything through some teaching that God wants to communicate, because “for the believer to contemplate creation is also to hear a message, hear a paradoxical and silent voice.” [57 John Paul II, Catechesis (26 January 2000), 5: Teachings 23/1 (2000), 123.] We can say that “In addition to the revelation itself in Sacred Scripture is, therefore, a divine manifestation in the blaze of the sun and the fall of the night. ” [58 Id., Catechesis (August 2, 2000), 3: L’Osservatore 23/2 (2000), 112.] By paying attention to this event, the human being learns to recognize itself in relation to other creatures: “I express myself expressing the world; I explore my deciphering the sacredness of the world. ” [59 Paul Ricoeur, Philosophie de la volonté. 2. Finitude et Culpabilité, Paris 2009, 216 (trans. Trans .: finitude and guilt, Bologna, 1970, 258). ]

86. The whole of the universe, with its multiple relationships, shows best the inexhaustible richness of God. St. Thomas Aquinas pointed out wisely that the multiplicity and variety come from “the intention of the first agent,” Whom wanted “what is lacking in each thing to represent the divine goodness is compensated by other things,” [60 Summa Theologica I, q. 47, art. 1.] that his goodness “can not be adequately represented by one creature.” [61 Ibid. ] For this, we need to grasp the variety of things in their multiple relationships. [62 Cf. ibid., Art. 2, ad. 1; art. 3.] Therefore, we understand better the importance and significance of any creature, if we contemplate it jointly in the overall plan of God. This the Catechism teaches: “The interdependence of creatures is willed by God. The sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow: the countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient, that they exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service one another ”. [63 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 340.]

87. When you realize the reflection of God in all that exists, the heart experiences the desire to worship the Lord for all his creatures, and along with them, as it appears in the beautiful song of St Francis of Assisi, “Praised be, my Lord, through all Your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and You give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness. Praised be, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful. Praised be, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which You give Your creatures sustenance. Praised be, my Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure. Praised be, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom You brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.” [64 Canticle of the Sun: FF 263.]

88. The Bishops of Brazil have stressed that all of nature, in addition to expressing God, is the place of his presence. In every creature lives his life-giving Spirit that calls us to a relationship with Him. [65 Cf. National Conference of Brazilian Bishops, A Igreja and Questão ecológica, 1992, 53-54.] The discovery of this presence stimulates in us the development of “ecological virtues.” [66 Ibid., 61.] But when we say this, we do not forget that there is also an infinite distance, that the things of this world do not have the fullness of God. Otherwise we would not even be good to creatures, because we would not recognize their own just and authentic place, and we would end up requiring unduly from them what in their smallness cannot give us.

V. A universal communion

89. The creatures of this world can not be considered without a good owner, “I am yours, Lord, lover of life” (Wis 11:26). This leads to the belief that, having been created by the same Father, all we beings in the universe are united by invisible ties and form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion that drives us to a sacred respect, loving and humble. I want to remember that “God has united us so closely to the world around us, that desertification of soil is like a disease for everyone, and we can lament the extinction of a species like a mutilation.” [67 Apost. ap. Evangelii gaudium (24 November 2013), 215: AAS 105 (2013), 1109.]

90. This is not to equate all living beings and remove that value peculiar to the human being that implies both a tremendous responsibility. Neither does it lead to a deification of the earth, which would deprive us of the call to collaborate with it and protect its fragility. These conceptions would create new imbalances in an attempt to escape from reality that challenges us. [68 Cf. Benedict XVI, Enc. Lett. Caritas in Veritate (29 June 2009), 14: AAS 101 (2009), 650.] It feels sometimes the obsession to deny the human person any prominence, and is pursuing a struggle for other species that we do not enact to defend the equal dignity of human beings. Certainly we have to worry that other living beings are not treated in an irresponsible way, but we should be ashamed especially by the enormous inequalities that exist between us, because we continue to tolerate that some consider themselves more worthy than others. We do not realize that some more toil in abject poverty, with no real possibility of improvement, while others do not even know what to do with their possessions, flaunt with vanity an alleged superiority and leave behind them a level of waste that would be impossible to generalize it without destroying the planet. We continue in fact to admit that some feel more human than others, as if they were born with more rights.

91. It cannot be a genuine feeling of intimate union with other beings of nature, if at the same time in the heart there is no tenderness, compassion and concern for human beings. Clearly, the inconsistency of those who fight against the trafficking of animals in danger of extinction, but remain completely indifferent to trafficking in persons, is indifferent to the poor, or is determined to destroy another human being that he is not welcome. This undermines the sense of struggle for the environment. It is no coincidence that, in the song that praises God for creatures, Francis added: “Praised be my Lord, through those who give pardon for your love.” Everything is connected. For this it requires a concern for the environment combined with the sincere love for human beings and a constant commitment to the problems of society.

92. On the other hand, when the heart is truly open to a universal communion, nothing and no one is excluded from this fraternity. Consequently, it is also true that the indifference or cruelty to other creatures of this world always end up moving to how we treat other human beings. The heart is one and the same misery that leads to mistreat an animal is soon to appear in relation to other people. Any mistreatment towards any creature “is contrary to human dignity.” [69 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2418.] We can not consider ourselves people who really love our interests if we exclude a part of reality, “Peace, justice and protection of creation are three matters completely connected, that you can not separate in order to be treated individually, on pain of falling back into reductionism. ” [70 Conference of the Dominican, Pastoral Letter Sobre la relación del hombre with naturaleza (15 March 1987).] Everything is related, and all human beings are united as brothers and sisters in a wonderful pilgrimage, bound by the love God has for each of his creatures and unites us also, with tender affection, to brother sun, sister moon, to brother river and to Mother Earth.

VI. The common destination of goods

93. Today, believers and non-believers alike agree that the earth is essentially a common heritage, the fruits of which should go to the benefit of all. For believers, this becomes a matter of loyalty to the Creator, because God created the world for all. Consequently, every ecological approach must integrate a social perspective that takes into account the fundamental rights of the most disadvantaged. The principle of the subordination of private property to the universal destination of goods and, therefore, the universal right to their use, is a “golden rule” of social behavior, and the “first principle of the whole ethical and social order.” [71 John Paul II, Enc. Lett. Laborem Exercens (14 September 1981), 19: AAS 73 (1981), 626.] The Christian tradition has never recognized as absolute or inviolable right to private property, and emphasized the social function of any form of private property. St. John Paul II recalled emphatically that doctrine, saying that “God gave the earth to the whole human race for the sustenance of all its members, without excluding or favoring anyone.” [72 Lett. Enc. Centesimus Annus (May 1, 1991), 31: AAS 83 (1991), 831.] These words are weighty and strong. He remarked that “it would not be truly worthy of man a kind of development that does not respect and promote human rights, personal and social, economic and political, including the rights of nations and peoples”. [73 Lett. Enc. Ioannis Pauli PP (30 December 1987), 33: AAS 80 (1988), 557.] With great clarity he explained that “the Church defends yes the legitimate right to private property, but also teaches with no less clarity that on any private property rests always a social mortgage, because the assets serve the general purpose that God has given them.” [74 speech to the indigenous and the campesinos of Mexico, Cuilapan (29 January 1979) , 6: AAS 71 (1979), 209.] Thus says that “it is not according to God’s plan to manage this gift so that its benefits are only for the benefit of a few.” [75 Homily at the Mass celebrated by the Farmers in Recife, Brazil (July 7, 1980), 4: AAS 72 (1980), 926.] This casts serious doubts on the unjust habits of a part of humanity. [76 Cf. Message for the World Day of Peace 1990, 8 : AAS 82 (1990), 152.]

94. The rich and the poor are equal in dignity, because “the Lord created the one and the other” (Pr 22,2), “he created the small and the great” (Wis 6,7), and “he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good” (Mt 5,45). This has practical consequences, such as those set out by the Bishops of Paraguay: “Every farmer has the natural right to possess a reasonable plot of land, where it can establish his household, to work for the support of his family and have security for their own existence. This right must be guaranteed so that its exercise is not illusory but real. Which means that in addition to the title of the property, the farmer must rely on means of technical training, loans, insurance and market access”.[77 Paraguayan Episcopal Conference, Pastoral Letter El campesino paraguayo y la tierra (12 June 1983), 2, 4, d.]

95. The environment is a collective heritage of all humanity and the responsibility of all. Who owns part is only to administer it for the benefit of all. If we do not, we load on the conscience the weight of denying the existence of others. For this reason the Bishops of New Zealand have wondered what it means the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” when “a twenty percent of the world population consumes resources to an extent that steal from poor nations and to future generations what they need to survive”. [78 Episcopal Conference of New Zealand, Statement on Environmental Issues, Wellington (1 September 2006).]

VII. The gaze of Jesus

96. Jesus takes up the biblical faith in God the Creator and brings out a fundamental fact: God is the Father (cf. Mt 11:25). In the dialogues with his disciples, Jesus invited them to recognize the paternal relationship that God has with all creatures, and reminded them with a touching tenderness as each of them is important in his eyes: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God” (Lk 12,6). “Look at the birds of the air: for they sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Mt 6:26).

97. The Lord could invite others to be attentive to the beauty that is in the world, because he himself was in continuous contact with nature and paying attention full of affection and awe. When he walked every corner of his land, he stopped to contemplate the beauty sown by his Father, and he invited the disciples to grasp things in a divine message: “Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, are already white for harvest” (Jn 4.35). “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is bigger than the other garden plants and becomes a tree “(Mt 13,31-32).

98. Jesus lived a perfect harmony with creation, and the others were astonished: “Who is this man, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (Mt 8:27). He did not look like an ascetic separated from the world, or enemy of the nice things of life. Referring to himself he said: “It is the Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say: ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard’”(Mt 11,19). He was far from the philosophies that despised the body, matter and the realities of this world. However, these unhealthy dualisms have had a significant influence on some Christian thinkers throughout history and have distorted the Gospel. Jesus worked with his hands, taking daily contact with matter created by God to shape it with his skills as a craftsman. It is noteworthy the fact that most of his life has been devoted to this effort, in a simple life that did not arouse any admiration: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” (Mk 6,3) . So he hallowed work and conferred it a special value for our maturation. St. John Paul II taught that “enduring the toil of work in union with Christ crucified for us, man in a way collaborates with the Son of God for the redemption of humanity.” [79 Lett. Enc. Laborem Exercens (14 September 1981), 27: AAS 73 (1981), 645.]

99. According to the Christian understanding of reality, the fate of the whole creation through the mystery of Christ, which is present from the beginning: “All things were created through him and for him” (Col 1 , 16). [80 For this reason, St. Justin could speak of “seeds of the Word” in the world: cf. II Apologia 8, 1-2; 13, 3-6: PG 6.457 to 458; 467.] The prologue of the Gospel of John (1,1-18) shows the creative activity of Christ as the divine Word (Logos). But this prologue is surprising in its statement that this Word “became flesh” (Jn 1:14). A Person of the Trinity has entered the created cosmos, sharing the fate up to the cross. Since the beginning of the world, but especially from the Incarnation, the mystery of Christ works in a hidden way in the whole of natural reality, without undermining its independence.

100. The New Testament not only tells us about the earthly Jesus and his relationship so real and loving with the world. He is also shown risen and glorious, present in all creation with his universal lordship: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”(Col 1,19-20). This propels us to the end of time, when the Son will deliver all things to the Father, so that “God may be all in all” (1 Cor 15:28). Thus, the creatures of this world there appear more than as a merely natural reality, because the Risen mysteriously surrounds and inspires them to a destiny of fullness. The same flowers of the field and the birds that He contemplated admiringly with his human eyes, are now full of his luminous presence.