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Stewardship of Creation

True stewardship requires changes in human actions—both in moral behavior and technical advancement... A renewed sense of sacrifice and restraint could make an essential contribution to addressing global climate change.

Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 2001 #18

God destined the earth and all it contains for all people and nations so that all created things would be shared fairly by all humankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity.

Gaudium et Spes (“The Church in the Modern World”), Vatican II, 1965, #69.


 

The Bible, from the first page on, teaches us that the whole of creation is for humanity, that it is men and women’s responsibility to develop it by intelligent effort and by means of their labor to perfect it, so to speak, for their use. If the world is made to furnish each individual with the means of livelihood and the instruments for growth and progress, all people have therefore the right to find in the world what is necessary for them.

Populorum Progressio (“On the Development of Peoples”), Pope Paul VI, 1967, #22.


 

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.

Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work,” Donders translation), Pope John Paul II, 1981, #25.


 

Farm owners and farm workers are the immediate stewards of the natural resources required to produce the food that is necessary to sustain life. These resources must be understood as gifts of a generous God. When they are seen in that light and when the human race is perceived as a single moral community, we gain a sense of the substantial responsibility we bear as a nation for the world food system. Meeting human needs today and in the future demands an increased sense of stewardship and conservation.

Economic Justice for All, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1986, #228.


 

[N]atural resources are limited; some are not, as it is said, renewable. Using them as if they were inexhaustible, with absolute dominion, seriously endangers their availability not only for the present generation but above all for generations to come.

Solicitudo Rei Socialis (“On Social Concern,” Donders translation), Pope John Paul II, 1987, #34.


 

The fundamental relation between humanity and nature is one of caring for creation.

Renewing the Earth, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1991.


 

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.

Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 2001 #6


 

True stewardship requires changes in human actions—both in moral behavior and technical advancement… A renewed sense of sacrifice and restraint could make an essential contribution to addressing global climate change.

Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 2001 #18


 

In the Catholic tradition, that memory includes biblical and Church teachings about human responsibilities for creation. God, who alone can create, invites people to participate in divine creativity. Thus, humans have a unique role. In the physical universe, they alone are consciously able to be caretakers of creation… They are called to use these understandings to describe, celebrate, develop and care for creation. They are created in the image and likeness of God and are commissioned as stewards of God’s created and beautiful universe.

The Columbia River Watershed: Caring for Creation and the Common Good, An International Pastoral Letter by the Catholic Bishops of the Region, 2001, #9.


 

The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole…In nature, the believer recognizes the wonderful result of God’s creative activity, which we may use responsibly to satisfy our legitimate needs, material or otherwise, while respecting the intrinsic balance of creation. If this vision is lost, we end up either considering nature an untouchable taboo or, on the contrary, abusing it. Neither attitude is consonant with the Christian vision of nature as the fruit of God’s creation. Nature expresses a design of love and truth.

Caritas in Veritate (“Charity in Truth”), Pope Benedict XVI, 2009, #48.


 

The Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere.

Caritas in Veritate (“Charity in Truth”), Pope Benedict XVI, 2009, #51.


 

It is from [the family] that we learn to take care of others, for the good of the other and to love the harmony of creation and to share and enjoy its fruits, by fostering reasonable, balanced and sustainable consumption. To support and protect the family so that it educates in solidarity and respect, is a decisive step in moving towards a more equitable and humane society.

Message for the World Food Day 2013, Pope Francis, Oct 16, 2013.


 

What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? This question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal. When we ask ourselves what kind of world we want to leave behind… We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity. Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us. The issue is one which dramatically affects us, for it has to do with the ultimate meaning of our earthly sojourn.

Laudato Si’ (“Praise Be”), Pope Francis, 2015, Chapter 4, #160.

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