Cardinal Vlk Sees a Lesson Behind Floods

«We Are Not Masters of Nature,» Czech Prelate Says

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PRAGUE, Czech Republic, AUG. 28, 2002 ( The recent flooding in the Czech Republic is «a sign that says we are not the masters of nature,» says the archbishop of Prague.

Cardinal Miloslav Vlk was describing the damage caused by the raging waters, which have destroyed homes and inundated parishes, and how the Church has reacted.

The phenomena call man «to respect the laws that creation has given,» the cardinal said. «If, instead, we continue to be arrogant and aggressive in face of nature, we will strike at a harmony that cannot be thrown off balance.»

He added, however, that what has happened «is not a punishment of God but a sign that calls for an ecological conversion, for respect for nature, and for humility.»

The cardinal personally visited many parishes inundated by water. The Czech bishops’ conference has launched a collection of funds in all parishes.

«The Church immediately mobilized the diocesan Caritas, which created emergency commissions to assist people and collect the necessary means to address the disaster,» Cardinal Vlk said.

«But, above all, we asked priests to involve themselves in the service of the people,» he added. «It is important to be present among the people to give them hope.»

Sixteen people have died in flood-related accidents over the last three weeks, and damage in 505 towns and villages could reach $2.8 billion, the Associated Press reported.

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