Time is running out to confront this ecological crisis. We must act. I appeal for Creation to be defended..
And remember, no people are ‘criminal,’ nor religion, ‘terrorists.’ But there are people out there who are fundamentalists…
Pope Francis made these points in his message to the participants of a national meeting of popular movements in Modesto, California. The encounter, Feb. 16-18, was organized with support from Vatican’s new dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, led by Cardinal Peter Turkson, the U.S. Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the National Network of People Improving Communities through Organizing.
In his message, he touched on various themes including the harms of when there are economic abuses, not taking care of the environment, welcoming others as neighbors and not categorizing a people just because of fundamentalism.
Pope Francis began his remarks noting his wish to encourage them in their efforts to work toward “Land, Work and Housing,” “the three T’s in Spanish: Tierra, Trabajo y Techo.”
After some initial greetings and words of gratitude, the Pontiff lamented that for some time, the crisis of the “prevailing paradigm has confronted us.”
“I am speaking of a system that causes enormous suffering to the human family,” he explained, “simultaneously assaulting people’s dignity and our Common Home in order to sustain the invisible tyranny of money that only guarantees the privileges of a few. “In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history.”
Signs of the Times
As Christians and all people of good will, he noted, it is for us to live and act at this moment.
It is “a grave responsibility, since certain present realities, unless effectively dealt with, are capable of setting off processes of dehumanization which would then be hard to reverse.”
“These are signs of the times that we need to recognize in order to act,” he said, noting, “We have lost valuable time”
The grave danger is to disown our neighbors. When we do so, we deny their humanity and our own humanity without realizing it; we deny ourselves, and we deny the most important Commandments of Jesus. Herein lies the danger, the dehumanization.
The question that the lawyer asked Jesus in the Gospel of Luke (10:25-37) echoes in our ears today: “Who is my neighbor.” Posed with this question, Francis recalled that Jesus told us to not classify others in order to see who is a neighbor and who is not.
Time Is Running Out, Can’t Be in Denial
Acknowledging their commitment to fight for social justice, to defend Earth and stand alongside migrants, Francis noted he reaffirms their choice and offered, in this regard, two reflections.
First, he said, “the ecological crisis is real,” noting climate change is a real scientific phenomenon and cannot be ignored.
Noting everyone knows what happens when we deny science and disregard the voice of Nature, he urged: “Let us not fall into denial.”
“Time is running out. Let us act,” Francis said, making the following appeal: “I ask you again—all of you, people of all backgrounds including native people, pastors, political leaders—to defend Creation.”
No People, ‘Criminal’ … Nor Religion, ‘Terrorist’ …
The other is a reflection, the Holy Father recalled, he had already shared at the most recent World Meeting of Popular Movements, noting he feels it need be repeated.
“No people is criminal and no religion is terrorist,” he said, adding, “Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist.”
They do not exist, he underscoring, also noting that no people is criminal or drug-trafficking or violent.
“There are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions— with intolerant generalizations, they become stronger because they feed on hate and xenophobia.”
The Holy Father encouraged the participants to confront terror with love, in order to work for peace, and to be meek and defend these principles.
Pope Francis concluded, quoting Saint Francis of Assisi: “let us give everything of ourselves: where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, let us sow pardon; where there is discord, let us sow unity; where there is error, let us sow truth,” and gave them his blessing.
On ZENIT’s Web page;
Full Text: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-message-to-popular-movements-meeting-in-california/