In recent years the evidence of the degradation of our planet has become increasingly clear and growing. Likewise, the commitment of individuals, institutions, and groups to what has been called “environmental justice” is growing.
As witnesses to the Redeemer in a wounded world, Redemptorists recognize that we are living in a time that calls us to act with “urgency” in the face of the current ecological crisis. The reflection primarily on social ministry continues to offer an exercise in dialogue and reflection between the elements of our charism and the call of Pope Francis to heal and restore our relationships with our Common Home. Of course, reflection is an exercise that retains its value if it moves us to concrete actions that are reflective of a commitment to “integral ecology.” This issue is a publication of the General Commission for Social Pastoral Care, and is entitled “Redemptorists and Environmental Justice.”
General Commission for Social Pastoral Care
Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation
For most of us until recently, Wuhan was an unknown name, the name of a city with which no one would ever imagine having any connection. When the news announced the onset of a possible epidemic in this city, we all regarded it as a distant reality, like many others before it. But more and more, we came to realize how it was gradually approaching our continent, our country, our city, our neighborhood, our family, until it touched our closest friends and – in many ways – our very selves. This is perhaps a metaphor that can reflect our attitude towards the “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor,” as Pope Francis refers to the current ecological crisis. It is a reality that seems distant from us and not urgent because it is not touching us directly. Still, the truth is that gradually but progressively, we are already feeling its effects. The mass media report daily the dramatic ecological disasters that have their direct causes in human beings’ actions during the last decades. According to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2016 recorded the highest temperatures on the Earth’s surface since they began to be recorded in 1880. Everything indicates that it is highly likely that this threshold will continue to be exceeded.
The degradation of ecosystems and the Earth, in general, is one of the great dangers we face today, and yet we continue to close our ears and hearts to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor. We have failed to realize that our life depends on the other life systems. If anything has become evident during this pandemic, it is our interconnectedness.
The current climatic reality, the loss of biodiversity, and the degradation of vital spaces are not an accident or the consequence of nature’s dynamics. No! They are a direct consequence of our disconnection with the Creator and his Creation. This situation has led us to assume choices and lifestyles that directly affect our relationship with nature. For centuries we had believed that nature was inferior to us, that it was an inhospitable “something” that had to be tamed and “transformed” and to which we had no bond of responsibility. But slowly, we have come to understand that when we speak of the Earth or nature, we are referring to the interactions and reactions that exist within it and within which we are playing a determining role. That is to say, we have come to understand that the health of our planet and humanity’s future are inseparable.
Kindly read the article in PDF format: English Redemptio, 1 – 2021