Catholics unite with Orthodox for creation catechesis

The Pope has written to Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I to emphasise the ecumenical significance of a shared action in defence of the environment, which he describes as "an open book" in which "the mystery of life is revealed in its pages."

AsiaNews reports that the message, published yesterday by the Vatican, was written on the occasion of the "Religion, Science and the Environment" project promoted by Bartholomew I, and dedicated to the environment and protecting creation.

As part of this project, a seminar was held in Brazil from 13 to 20 July entitled "The Rio of the Amazons, Springs of Life". This was the sixth such meeting and its committee of honour included Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

"The task of stressing suitable catechesis with regard to creation, to call attention back to the religious meaning and significance of safeguarding it, is intimately connected with our duty as pastors and can have an important impact on the perception of the very value of life itself and on the adequate solution of consequent unavoidable social problems," read the message that was borne by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, papal representative at the meeting.

Benedict XVI expressed his hope that the meeting will serve to draw the attention of governments and people to the problems, needs and urgencies of "a region whose ecological balance has been so tried and threatened: its rivers and its forests, in their beauty and grandeur, speak to us of God and his magnificent works for man," he said.

"This immense region, where water is an unparalleled source of harmony and richness, is like an open book and the mystery of life is revealed in its pages.

"How can we not feel called, as individuals as well as communities, to a responsible awareness-raising that translates into coherent decisions to safeguard such an ecologically rich environment?" the Pontiff asks.

The Pope continued: "In our shared commitment, I see an example of the collaboration that Orthodox and Catholics should constantly search for in response to the appeal for a shared witness.

"This presupposes that all Christians cultivate in their inner selves that openness of heart dictated by charity, which has its roots in faith. In this way, they may offer to the world together a credible testimony of their sense of responsibility for the safeguarding of creation."

"People of goodwill can and should associate themselves with practical objectives dealing with human survival. ... Common points must be found on which to converge the commitment of each to safeguarding the habitat that the Creator prepared for mankind, in who he impressed his image," he wrote.

Pope: Catholics and Orthodox united in defence of creation (Asia News, 20/7/06)
Cathechesis of creation for the protection of the environment (Vatican Information Service, 20/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

Pope Turkey trip looking likely for November (CathNews, 8/9/05)
Cardinal Kasper sees new hope for ecumenical relations (CathNews, 14/6/02)

21 Jul 2006