"Respect for life and for the dignity of the human person also extends to the rest of creation, which is called to join man in praising God." - John Paul II, 1990 World Day of Peace Message, no. 16.
"Christians, in particular, realize that their responsibility within creation and their duty towards nature and the Creator are an essential part of their faith." - John Paul II, 1990 World Day of Peace Message, no. 15.
"When man turns his back on the Creator's plan, he provokes a disorder which has inevitable repercussions on the rest of created order. If man is not at peace with God, then earth itself cannot be at peace…" - John Paul II, 1990 World Day of Peace Message, no. 5.
"We cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention to both the consequences of such interference in other areas and to the well-being of future generations." - John Paul II, 1990 World Day of Peace Message, no. 6.
"The most profound and serious indication of the moral implications underlying the ecological problem is the lack of respect for life evident in many of the patterns of environmental pollution." - John Paul II, 1990 World Day of Peace Message, no. 7.
"It is manifestly unjust that a privileged few should continue to accumulate excess goods, squandering available resources, while masses of people are living in conditions of misery at the very lowest level of subsistence." - John Paul II, 1990 World Day of Peace Message, no. 8.
"Our very contract with nature has a deep restorative power; contemplation of its magnificence imparts peace and serenity." - John Paul II, 1990 World Day of Peace Message, no. 14.
"The aesthetic value of creation cannot be overlooked. Our very contact with nature has a deep restorative power; contemplation of its magnificence imparts peace and serenity. The Bible speaks again and again of the goodness and beauty of creation, which is called to glorify God." - John Paul II, 1990 World Day of Peace Message, no. 14.
"This coming Friday, 1 September, the Church in Italy will celebrate the first 'Day for the Protection of Creation', but today the great gift of God is exposed to serious dangers and lifestyles which can degrade it. Environmental pollution is making particularly unsustainable the lives of the poor of the world. In dialogue with Christians of various confessions, we must pledge ourselves to take care of creation and to share its resources in solidarity." - Pope Benedict XVI during his Angelus address on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006.
"Common points must be found on which converge the commitments of each one to safeguard the habitat that the Creator has made available to the human being, in whom he has impressed his own image." - Letter of his Holiness Benedict XVI to his Holiness Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch, on the Occasion of the Sixth Symposium on "Religion, Science and the Environment" Focusing on the Amazon River.
"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." - Pope Benedict XVI, homily at Inaugural Mass, 2005.
"Our mistreatment of the natural world diminishes our own dignity and sacredness, not only because we are destroying resources that future generations of humans need, but because we are engaging in actions that contradict what it means to be human. Our tradition calls us to protect the life and dignity of the human person, and it is increasingly clear that this task cannot be separated from the care and defense of all of creation." - US Catholic Bishops, Renewing the Earth, 1991, p. 2.
"It is to the Creator of the universe, then, that we are accountable for what we do or fail to do to preserve and care for the earth and all its creatures." - US Catholic Bishops, Renewing the Earth, 1991, p. 6.
"Stewardship implies that we must both care for creation according to standards that are not of our own making and at the same time be resourceful in finding ways to make the earth flourish." - US Catholic Bishops, Renewing the Earth, 1991, p. 6.
"By preserving natural environments, by protecting endangered species, by laboring to make human environments compatible with local ecology, by employing appropriate technology, and by carefully evaluating technological innovations as we adopt them, we exhibit respect for creation and reverence for the Creator." - US Catholic Bishops, Renewing the Earth, 1991, p. 7.
"Created things belong not to the few, but to the entire human family." - US Catholic Bishops, Renewing the Earth, 1991, p. 8.
"At its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God's creation and the one human family." - US Catholic Bishops, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good, 2001
Because of the blessings God has bestowed on our nation and the power it possesses, the United States bears a special responsibility in its stewardship of God's creation to shape responses that serve the entire human family. As pastors, teachers, and citizens, we bishops seek to contribute to our national dialogue by examining the ethical implications of climate change. We offer some themes from catholic social teachings that could help to shape this dialogue, and we suggest some directions for the debate and public policy decisions that face us. We do so with great respect for the work of the scientists, diplomats, business and union representatives, developers of new technologies, environmental leaders, and policy makers who have been struggling with the difficult questions of climate change for many years." - US Catholic Bishops, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good, 2001
Freedom and the capacity for moral decision making are central to what it means to be human. Stewardship - defined in this case as the ability to exercise moral responsibility to care for the environment - requires freedom to act. Significant aspects of this stewardship include the right to private initiative, the ownership of property, and the exercise of responsible freedom in the economic sector. Stewardship requires a careful protection of the environment and calls us to use our intelligence "to discover the earth's productive potential and the many different ways in which human needs can be satisfied." (John Paul II, On the Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum, no. 32). - US Catholic Bishops, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good, 2001
True stewardship requires changes in human actions - both moral behavior and technical advancement. Our religious tradition has always urged restraint and moderation in the use of material goods, so we must not allow our desire to possess more material things to overtake our concern for the basic needs of people and the environment. Pope John Paul II has linked protecting the environment to "authentic human ecology," which can overcome "structures of sin" and which promotes both human dignity and respect for creation. (John Paul II, On the Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum, no. 32) Technological innovation and entrepreneurship can help make possible options that can lead us to a more environmentally benign energy path. Changes in lifestyle based on traditional moral virtues can ease the way to a sustainable and equitable world economy in which sacrifice will no longer be an unpopular concept. For many of us, a life less focused on material gain many remind us that we are more than what we have. Rejecting the false promises of excessive or conspicuous consumption can even allow more time for family, friends, and civic responsibilities. A renewed sense of sacrifice and restraint could make an essential contribution to addressing global climate change. - US Catholic Bishops, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good, 2001
As Catholic bishops, we seek to offer a distinctively religious and moral perspective to what is necessarily a complicated scientific, economic, and political discussion. Ethical questions lie at the heart of the challenges facing us. US Catholic Bishops, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good, 2001
"We face a fundamental question which can be described as both ethical and ecological. How can accelerated development be prevented from turning against man? How can one prevent disaster that destroy the environment and threaten all forms of life, and how can the negative consequences that have already occurred be remedied?" - John Paul II, "International Solidarity Needed to Safeguard Environment," address by the Holy Father to the European Bureau for the Environment, L'Osservatore Romano, June 1996.
As people of religious faith, we bishops believe that the atmosphere that supports life on earth is a God-given gift, one we must respect and protect. It unites us as one human family. If we harm the atmosphere, we dishonor our Creator and the gift of creation. The value of our faith calls us to humility, sacrifice, and a respect for life and the natural gifts God has provided. Pope John Paul II reminds us in his statement The Ecological Crisis: A Common Responsibility that "respect for life and for the dignity of the human person extends also to the rest of creation, which is called to join man in praising God." (John Paul II, The Ecological Crisis, no. 16). In that spirit of praise and thanksgiving to God for the wonders of creation, we Catholic bishops call for a civil dialogue and prudent and constructive action to protect God's precious gift of the earth's atmosphere with a sense of genuine solidarity and justice for all God's children. . - US Catholic Bishops, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good, 2001
"The complexity of the ecological question is evident to all. There are, however, certain underlying principles which, while respecting the legitimate autonomy and the specific competence of those involved, can direct research towards adequate and lasting solutions. These principles are essential to the building of a peaceful society; no peaceful society can afford to neglect either respect for life or the fact that there is an integrity to creation. Respect for life, and above all for the dignity of the human person, is the ultimate guiding norm for any sound economic, industrial or scientific progress." John Paul II, 1990 World Day of Peace, no. 7.
"Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation." Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2415
"Created in God's image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of "converging and convincing arguments," which allow us to attain certainty about the truth. These ways of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world and the human person." Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 31
"As individuals, as institutions, as a people we need a change of heart to preserve and protect the planet for our children and for generations yet unborn." Renewing the Earth, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1991, p. 3.
"The whole human race suffers as a result of environmental blight, and generations yet unborn will bear the price for our failure to act today. " Renewing the Earth, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1991, p. 2.
In the very first pages of Scripture we read these words: "Fill the earth and subdue it." This teaches us that the whole of creation is for man, that he has been charged to give it meaning by his intelligent activity, to complete and perfect it by his own efforts and to his own advantage. Now if the earth truly was created to provide man with the necessities of life and the tools for his own progress, it follows that every man has the right to glean what he needs from the earth. The recent Council reiterated this truth: "God intended the earth and everything in it for the use of all human beings and peoples. Thus, under the leadership of justice and in the company of charity, created goods should flow fairly to all." On the Development of Peoples, no. 22.
From the patristic period to the present, the church has affirmed that misuse of the world's resources or appropriation of them by a minority of the world's population betrays the gift of creation since "whatever belongs to God belongs to all." Economic Justice for All, no. 34. The most profound motive for our work is this knowing that we share in creation. Learning the meaning of creation in our daily lives will help us to live holier lives. It will fill the world with the spirit of Christ, the spirit of justice, charity, and peace. On Human Work, no. 25.