Vatican releases ten commandments of environment

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has released its Ten Commandments of the Environment emphasising that "nothing in this world exists outside the divine plan of creation and redemption."

Zenit reports Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, presented the points in a message for World Environment Day last week.

Bishop Crepaldi told Vatican Radio the document is an attempt "to explain in 10 points the most important aspects of the chapter on the environment in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church."

He added that is an effort to enlighten Christian communities, groups and movements on "the very rich social magisterium of the Church on the specific question of the environment and its protection."

Bishop Crepaldi expressed his appreciation for the UN's initiative in establishing the world day, although he commented that this year's theme - "Toward a Low Carbon Economy" - should take other variables into account, involving the relationship between the rich and poor world.

"The objective and perspective delineated by the social magisterium of the Church, confirmed many times by [Pope Benedict], is that of a just and unified economy. It is good to decrease the rate of carbon, but it is also necessary to add other things," he continued.

Bishop Crepaldi also encouraged the development of alternative energy sources.

"One must be realistic, given that at present it is not possible to sustain the existing economic systems solely with alternative energies," he said.

However, an answer must be also given to "the poverty and underdevelopment of so many areas of the planet, and when we speak of underdevelopment, we are speaking of millions and millions of poor, of people who have nothing," Bishop Crepaldi added.

Regarding the will of the international community to reduce carbon emissions in order to combat global warming, Bishop Crepaldi said that it is a "very complex and controversial" issue, which calls for "greater commitment at the scientific level" to "clarify the terms of this issue, in an effort to evaluate the long term effects."

He noted the need for greater commitment "from the political point of view, because the policies implemented by governments to control so called global warming are policies that are difficult to sustain from the economic point of view; they are too costly. Both scientists as well as politicians, evidently with the participation of civil society, must continue to work in this field."

On nuclear energy the bishop clarified that the Church "condemns its military use," but has "no objection to its civil use."

"Evidently, we are faced with a very delicate issue," said Bishop Crepaldi, "because in this case we have a cultural and political problem when it is stated that nuclear energy will be used for civil needs, but in reality, some are planning to use it for military objectives."

Referring to the environmental commandments, Bishop Crepaldi said that the social teaching of the Church recalls two fundamental points.

"We should not reduce nature to a mere instrument to be manipulated and exploited. Nor should we make nature an absolute value, or put it above the dignity of the human person," he said.


Vatican sums up Christian of creation (Zenit, 7/6/08)


Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Ten Commandments for the Environment (


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