B16: "Thou Shalt Not Mess With Creation"
The (still-vacationing) pontiff saved his most powerful words, however, to make a plea for the environment. Using the papal stage to call attention to a coming observance, the Pope said the following... which will likely irritate some among his American, SUV-driving flock (Whispers translation):
This coming 1 September, the Church in Italy will celebrate the first Day for the Protection of Creation, the great gift of God exposed to serious risks of choices and lifestyles which can degrade it. Envrionmental pollution makes particularly insustainable the lives of the poor of the world. In dialogue with the Christians of diverse confessions must pledge themselves to take care of creation, without depleting its resources and sharing them in a way of solidaity. On this occasion, I'm happy to welcome this morning a representation of the pilgrimage, promoted by the ACLI [Italian Christian Workers' Association], which has traveled the ancient Via Francigena from Monginevro [France] to Rome to increase awareness with respect to the environment.AFP reports that the remarks immediately entered the Italian political discourse:
Italian Environment Minister Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, leader of the Greens, seized on Benedict's remarks.Further proof that real orthodoxy transcends ideology.... At least if, you know, the man on Peter's chair is to be believed.
"It would be very useful if all the parishes in Italy equipped themselves with solar energy," he said.
He said it was very important that the Roman Catholic church did not confine itself to "the traditional message of respect for the human being" but also sent out "a message of love of nature and respect for the environment.
PHOTO: AP/Pier Paolo Cito