San Franġisk u l-Għarfien ta' Alla fil-Ħolqien

(kontribut fit-Tieni Konferenza Nazzjonali dwar l-Ambjent u l-Knisja, 6 t’Ottubru 2006)

1. "The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast. Therefore the earth's treasures no longer serve to build God's garden for all to live in, but they have been made to serve the powers of exploitation and destruction" (Benedict XVI, homily at Inaugural Mass, 2005).

What does the commandment "Thou shall not kill" mean when 20% of the world's population consumes resources at a rate that robs poorer nations and future generations of what they need to survive?

What does it mean to respect life when 30,000 people die each day from poverty?

What does it mean to be stewards of the earth when up to half of all living species are expected to become extinct in the next 200 years?

Science and technology have brought many blessings to human existence. Over the last 50 years those blessings have included a greater capacity to meet basic human needs. But the benefits of these advances have been spread unjustly, often with an adverse effect upon the world's most vulnerable populations. The existence of extreme poverty and environmental destruction in our world are not natural forces, nor acts of God, but result from human behavior. That behavior is driven by values, priorities and decisions which do not see human life as a paramount concern.

Our world is facing an ecological crisis, which could equally be called an economic crisis, or a poverty crisis. Its public face is the suffering of the poor and the degradation of our environment, at a time when accumulation of wealth and material goods has never occupied our attention more. That is why we see it primarily as a spiritual or moral crisis. (Bishops’ Conference of New Zealand, “Statement on Environmental Issues”, 8th September 2006).

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