Pope Benedict XVI: ‘Environmental Meekness’, Summer Camp and Education

Recently Pope Benedict XVI has mentioned the environment in several of his addresses. Most recently  at the Angelus he spoke of Jesus and his message of meekness and humility. The environmental crisis is one of the “wounds of humanity” and the cure is love, which comes from God. To respect the environment we must live and embody the meekness that flows from this love. Environmental improvement comes from inner transformation. The excerpt of the Pope’s specific mention of the environment is below:

Jesus promises to give all “rest,” but he puts a condition: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” What is this “yoke,” which instead of weighing is light, and instead of crushing lifts? The “yoke” of Christ is the law of love, it is his commandment, which he left to his disciples (cf. John 13:34; 15:12). The true remedy for the wounds of humanity — whether they are material, such as hunger and injustice, or psychological and moral, caused by a false sense of well being — is a rule of life based on fraternal love, which has its source in the love of God.

It is therefore necessary to abandon the path of arrogance and violence that is used to procure positions of greater power, so as to ensure success at any cost. Also, out of respect for the environment, it is necessary to give up the aggressive lifestyle that has become prevalent in the last centuries and to adopt a reasonable “meekness.” But above all in human, interpersonal and social relations, the rule of respect and of nonviolence, that is, the force of truth against any abuse is what can ensure a future worthy of man.

In another address, to the Roman Ecclesial Congress, the Pope emphasized the importance of education and faith formation. He specifically mentioned the soft spot Pope John Paul II had for the youth”, the need for a “creative catechetics” which will take into account the context, culture and age of those to whom it is addressed” and “to teach silence and interiority”. Finally, among other means he specifically mentioned the importance of summer camps.

At this point I find it pertinent to put in a plug for the John Paul II Adventure Institute and Camp Wojtyla, which specifically embody all of these aspects, under the guidance of Blessed John Paul II. The JP II Adventure Institute is based in Colorado and associated with Camp St. Malo  and Creatio. Below the Pope’s words that should be a source of inspiration for all. The full address can be read here:

Still today, the after-school prayer and recreation centers, the summer camps and small and important experiences of service are a precious help to adolescents who are undertaking the process of Christian initiation in order to develop a consistent commitment to life. I therefore encourage them to take this path, which leads to discovery of the Gospel, not as a utopia but as the full form of life.


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