As we approach World Environment Day, Pope Francis has made a strong statement of intent on what the Christian responsibility is when it comes to protecting our environment. During Sunday morning Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope quoted Psalm 104 to show the link between the Holy Spirit and the health of the world we live in.
“The gift of the Holy Spirit renews the earth,” Pope Francis said. “The Psalmist says: ‘You send forth your Spirit… and you renew the face of the earth.’ The account of the birth of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles is significantly linked to this Psalm, which is a great hymn of praise to God the Creator.”
“The Holy Spirit whom Christ sent from the Father, and the Creator Spirit who gives life to all things, are one and the same,” he continued. “Respect for creation, then, is a requirement of our faith: the garden in which we live is not entrusted to us to be exploited, but rather to be cultivated and tended with respect."
"the garden in which we live is not entrusted to us to be exploited, but rather to be cultivated and tended with respect"
His bold statement came in the lead up to both World Environment Day and the publication of a much-anticipated encyclical on the environment and climate change, which will be released in June.
“Yet this is possible only if Adam – the man formed from the earth – allows himself, in turn, to be renewed by the Holy Spirit, only if he allows himself to be re-formed by the Father on the model of Christ, the new Adam” Pope Francis said, speaking of all of us.
"this is possible only if Adam – the man formed from the earth – allows himself, in turn, to be renewed by the Holy Spirit"
“In this way, renewed by the Spirit of God, we will indeed be able to experience the freedom of the sons and daughters, in harmony with all creation. In every creature we will be able to see reflected the glory of the Creator, as another Psalm says: 'How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!'"
The sentiments behind the Pope’s statement are shown in our work on sustainable environment. As we get close to World Environment Day, we will be telling you about some of the amazing people we stand alongside as they stand up for the climate. This includes the Chembe Community in Malawi, who we have helped train to plant more than 32,000 new trees in their area.
If you want to stand up for the environment here in the UK, you can join the country’s biggest day of action against climate change. Sign up to speak up for the climate on Wednesday 17 June here.