ETR recently posted a blog on a speech Pope Francis gave in Italy where he told the audience, “This is our sin, exploiting the Earth… This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation.” The Atlantic recently put out a more in-depth article on Pope Francis’s ecological thought and agenda. The article discusses the large swath of Christians who consider environmentalism an enemy, including groups such as the Cornwall Alliance, who ETR has reported on before. Against such teachings, Francis holds a vision of creation as gift and sacred, a place to be taken care of, ” Let us be ‘protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.”
The article gives an overview of varying theologies within Christian communities and makes the claim that Francis’s environmental stances are radical,
What is radical is Francis’s willingness to present environmentalism not merely as a challenge, but as one of the “greatest” challenges of our time. By underlining the importance of environmentalism to his overall theology, Francis is doing more than simply espousing a set of principles. He is also publicly—with the dizzying reach granted to a man in his position—emphasizing an understanding of nature that, in contrast to the combative dichotomy so prevalent in mainstream politico-religious discourse, is intrinsically positive in its treatment of the physical world.
Radical or not, it’s refreshing to see a Christian leader who stands up for ecological issues and calls Christians to task to take care of gifts given.