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Light On The World

A post that has been overdue, is a synthesis of Pope Benedict XVI’s latest publication, “Light of the World”, which are a compilation of interviews by journalist Peter Seewald, on the environment. Certainly the environment is not the central theme, but there are many sections that show the Pope’s latest thinking on the environment. As most know, the part that drew the most attention from this publication, and the debate rages on, has to do with the question of contraception. I will not get into this here, but you can read about it in other places (here too), and to some degree this theme is relevant to development in the third world and climate change as I have posted before.

So, on the environment, here are the highlights:

  • [The Pope] “has an inner obligation to struggle for the preservation of the environment and to oppose the destruction of creation… The modern world, after all, is not built solely out of the negative… Where they are supported [moral values] – and they must be supported by the Pope – there is agreement in broad areas.” (p.20)
  • [After a question on climate change and Copenhagen meeting]. “That is in fact a big problem. What can we do? So it becomes clear that the political will ultimately cannot become effective unless there is in all mankind… a new, deeper moral awareness, a willingness to do without, which is concrete… This can be done by an authority that touches the conscience, that is close to the individual and does not merely call for eye-catching events. In that respect this is a challenge for the Church. She not only has a major responsibility; she is, I would say, often the only hope. For she is so close to people’s consciences that she can move them to particular acts of self denial and can inculcate basic attitudes in souls… Then again, one see too few models of what self-denial could look like concretely. In this respect the religious communities are important examples.” (45-47)
  • [On liturgy] “the early Christians prayed facing east, in the direction of the rising sun, the symbol of the returning Christ. In so doing, they wanted to show that the whole world is on its way toward Christ and that he encompasses the whole world. This connection between heaven and earth is very important.” (105)

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