Regard for Natural and “Human” Ecology Urged

Pope Sees Energy Supplies as a Telling Problem

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 12, 2006 ( Peace can only be attained by respecting the natural environment as well as the human environment, says Benedict XVI.

The great proof of this, according to the Pope, can be seen in the problem of energy supplies.

“The ecology of peace” is one of the most important sections of his message for World Day of Peace, to be observed Jan. 1 with the theme “The Human Person, Heart of Peace.”

“Not only has God given the earth to man, who must use it with respect for the original good purpose for which it was given to him, but man too is God’s gift to man,” explains Benedict XVI, developing the thought of Pope John Paul II. “He must therefore respect the natural and moral structure with which he has been endowed.”

“Alongside the ecology of nature, there exists what can be called a ‘human’ ecology, which in turn demands a ‘social’ ecology,” states the papal message presented today.

Benedict XVI adds that “humanity, if it truly desires peace, must be increasingly conscious of the links between natural ecology, or respect of nature, and human ecology.”

“Experience shows that disregard for the environment always harms human coexistence, and vice versa,” the Pope writes.

As proof of the relationship between “natural” ecology and “human” ecology, the Bishop of Rome mentions “the increasingly serious problem of energy supplies.”


“In recent years, new nations have entered enthusiastically into industrial production, thereby increasing their energy needs,” the Pope notes. “This has led to an unprecedented race for available resources.

“Meanwhile, some parts of the planet remain backward and development is effectively blocked, partly because of the rise in energy prices.”

“What will happen to these peoples?” asks the Pontiff. “What kind of development or non-development will be imposed on them by the scarcity of energy supplies? What injustices and conflicts will be provoked by the race for energy sources?

“And what will be the reaction of those who are excluded from this race?”

The Holy Father continues: “These are questions that show how respect for nature is closely linked to the need to establish, between individuals and between nations, relationships that are attentive to the dignity of the person and capable of satisfying his or her authentic needs.

“The destruction of the environment, its improper or selfish use, and the violent hoarding of the earth’s resources cause grievances, conflicts and wars, precisely because they are the consequences of an inhumane concept of development.

“Indeed, if development were limited to the technical-economic aspect, obscuring the moral-religious dimension, it would not be an integral human development, but a one-sided distortion which would end up by unleashing man’s destructive capacities.”

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