Something urgent and inalienable

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Redemptorist Youth and Vocation Ministry Team of Spain announced a declaration inspired by the Climate Summit 2019, with an appeal to take concrete steps to put into practice the ideas of the encyclical letter of Pope Francis Laudato Si’.

Declaration of the Redemptorist Youth and Vocation Ministry Team of Spain on the occasion of the Climate Summit – 2019

Something urgent and inalienable

To take care for the environment is not an option that Christians can choose or not. It is not optional. The Word of God gives no room for nuances or preferences.  In the account of the creation of Genesis, God tells us: “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food (…)  and all the living creatures on the earth (…)” [Gen 1:29 ff]. In this trusting surrender of the Creator there is a clear mission of caring for and protecting his work. To act as gardeners or caretakers of all living creatures.

“We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will” points out Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ (LS 2). In the past there has been an erroneous interpretation of these biblical passages which seem to give to the humans the authority to dominate and exploit (cf. LS 67). However, the real request of this text is forgotten: that the man should dominate his own “animality”, that he should avoid behaving like a violent warrior who subdues the earth and other living beings[1].

We have a conviction: “he most extraordinary scientific advances, the most amazing technical abilities, the most astonishing economic growth, unless they are accompanied by authentic social and moral progress, will definitively turn against man” (LS 4). In other words, the external progress of our society must be accompanied by internal or ethical progress. It is an interior growth in humanity, sensitivity, solidarity and – for those of us who are believers – a commitment from our faith that invites us to it.

Jesus encourages his disciples to build their house on rock (Mt 7:24), instead of building on sand, which would undoubtedly be faster, more comfortable and less tiring, but in the long run it is a mistake. We believe that too many Christians in this grave and urgent matter of caring for the planet and climate change choose to “build on sand”. They justify themselves by saying that “we cannot do anything” or that “it does not depend on them”.

Looking at our Redemptorist saints, it is easy to identify austerity, simplicity, sacrifice and dedication to one’s neighbor as essential keys. From them we obtain a new call from God not to stay indifferent in the face of an evil that challenges us to pursue toward coherence and integrity of life.

It is why, as Redemptorist Youth Vocation Ministry and educators of the youth, we join to those who seek a sustainable and integral development (cf. LS 13) and we encourage more believers to do it as well. There is a need not to remain only at beautiful slogans and manifests, but to assume actions and bet on another style of life (cf. LS 203-208) that respects and cares more for the common house.

For our part, we commit ourselves and invite everyone to the form of commitment as follows:

  • Reduction of consumption. To live a simpler lifestyle, less wasteful, that will enable us to be happy with less and that will guide us not to put our happiness in material goods as the Gospel asks of us.
  • To reuse objects and goods that can still have another use or application. To consume critically  and not to become people who generate garbage continuously. Seek the most ecological option and not always the most economical.
  • To recycle. To make an effort to separate waste and create clean and sustainable spaces in the environments in which we live: home, work, faculty or institute, parish or community.
  • To pray. For us believers, ecology is also a reason for prayer. We pray, at the same time as we take actions, that social awareness and solidarity with the common house may grow.

Let no one consider himself as owner and exploiter, but let him feel called by the Creator to continue taking care of his work. Jesus’ mandate to love God and neighbor (Mt 22:37-39) includes the environment as the larger neighbor that surrounds and sustains us; thanks to it we can live.

Redemptorist RYVM Team from Spain
– December 7, 2019 –

[1] E. SANZ GIMÉNEZ-RICO (ed.), Cuidar de la Tierra, cuidar de los pobres. Laudato Si’ desde la teología y con la ciencia, Sal Terrae, Santander 2015, 54.

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