Handouts # 4 Issues affecting the Principle of Stewardship 1.

Environment: Befriending the Earth : A work for Justice and Peace A. The earth is our only home. Let us take care of it. Home can literally be a place or a state of mind. In any case, it is that which allows you to be your real self. That is why “home” gives you a feeling of security, like a friend. Here you will not be judged. Ecology is a Greek word which means “house” or “home”. It reminds us that planet Earth is our home that we share with the human family and with all other species of living things. This home has abundant resources to meet the basic needs of all. The resources are not unlimited and are not indestructible. Creation and Human Dignity are the resources for all to be shared. “ God destined the earth and it contains for the use of every individual and all peoples” [ GS 69]. On earth we are not afraid to go hungry and die. It is our home. B. There is an ecological crisis. We have not given nature its due. There is a massive destruction. We have been lulled into a false security in thinking that nature is there for us to take and abuse. 1. “In our day there is a growing awareness that world peace is threatened, not only by the arms race, regional conflicts and continued injustices among peoples and nations but also by a lack of due respect for nature, by the plundering of natural resources and by a progressive decline of the quality of life.” [ John Paul II 1991 ] 2. In his message, the Pope speaks of an “ecological crisis” and insists that it is a moral problem. Seen in the perspective of friendship, the good of a friend is of moral concern to us. When s/he s in danger or is calumniated, we are always with a friend, we have become responsible for the effect of our behaviour has on the other members of the family who share the same planetary home. For us Filipinos, our fault may be in the fact that while we take utmost, almost obsessive care of our proximate area, we often are not concerned of the larger one. Thus, we can always throw garbage next door or out in the streets. In the gospel Jesus asks the question” “If you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?” [ Lk 16:12 ] Air, water, soil, and atmosphere are common resources. If we inflict harm on them we commit injustice upon all creation now living and upon future generations as well. As the Pope points out: “we cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention both to the consequences of such interference in other areas and to the well being of future generations” “God destined the earth and all it contains for the use of individual and all peoples.” [ JP II] 3. Justice demands that due respect is accorded to nature [ 1991 ]. It asks that the human community give reverence to the inherent value of the non-human world independent of its usefulness for human purposes. This entails the expansion of the triangular conception of relationships to include the environment or nature. God God Others SELF Society/ State

Others

Self

Environment

Each of these elements of relationships has dignity and values that must be respected.

C. We are members of one body [ Eph 4:15-16 ] and we are interconnected with each other so that what happens to one affects the other. How we view God, nature, self, and other created beings affects our way of relating. Spirituality is defined as an “energizing vision, a driving force”. It begins with an awareness which is translated into a way of being. On the other hand, it is “a specific way of being rooted in God..on the other hand, it is a specific way of relating to the created world.” Creation spirituality is thus the awareness of the oneness of all creatures with God. It calls for a basic stance of respect and care for everyone. It seeks and strives for the fullness of life. 1. As the dignity of the human person is based on her/his being made in the image of God, so, too, all of creation carries a dignity and a mirroring of the Divine. Each creature images God in a manner unique to its species and each creature contributes to the whole, to the web that sustains all of life, in ways that we are only beginning to discover. 2. In 1982, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed a “World Charter Nature”. It stated that “every form of life is unique, warranting respect regardless of its worth to humanity and to accord other organisms such recognition. Humanity must be guided by a moral code of action.” 3. The ecological crisis has assumed such proportions as to be the responsibility of everyone.. There is order in the universe that must be respected, and,…the human person, endowed with the responsibility of choosing freely, has a grave responsibility to preserve the order for the well being of future generations” [ John Paul II ] It is imperative that we enter into a relationship with the Earth not of dominion or exploitation but one that a characteristic of a covenant or friend. Eco-justice is to befriend the earth. D. Eco-justice calls for a review of our lives and our relationships. How we treat nature instructs us on how we should treat human beings. 1. Injustice against environment is of the expressions of greed, is a desire for quicker profit. Sometimes, this is done without conscious consideration of the effects of certain actions on others especially the poor. Poverty also brings environmental destruction. Those who are poor and hungry, in the name of survival, will cut down trees, they will overuse marginal land, and their livestock will over graze grassland. 2. The first to suffer when the earth is plundered are the poor. They are the people whose farms will be unjustly expropriated by large communal interests to give way to golf courses, resorts, malls, and other infrastructures often advertised as signs of economic progress. 3. All is a moral problem not only for the super rich but for all of us. Ecological devastation and poverty demand moral and spiritual conversion and change of lifestyle from all of us. This is the demand of eco-justice. Pope John Paul II says: “ Modern society will find no solution to the ecological problem unless it takes a serious look at its lifestyle. In many parts of the world, society is given to instant gratification and consumerism, while remaining indifferent to the damage which these cause. The seriousness of the ecological issue lays bare the depth of humanity’ moral crisis. Simplicity, moderation and discipline, as well as a spirit of sacrifice must become a part of everyday life… E. CHRIST IS THE CENTER OF CREATION [ Col 1: 16-17 ] “Destruction of any part of creation defaces the image of Christ etched in creation.” [ CBCP 1988 ] F. “ Mary, as the Mother of Life, challenges us to abandon the pathway of death and return to the way of life.” [CBCP 1988 ] “ We must take up the strands of our Filipino Christian vision and as a people weave it together to re-create a new story of the Philippine Earth and so realize the “dream of the Earth: our way into the future”.