Pontiff Affirms Duty Toward Future Generations

Says World Must Be Entrusted to Them in Inhabitable State

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that we have a duty toward future generations -- to entrust them with the earth in a state in which they too can inhabit it.

The Pope said this today in Italian-language greetings to the crowd that had gathered with him in Castel Gandolfo to pray the midday Angelus.

Sept. 1 is the Day for Protecting Creation promoted by the Italian Episcopal Conference. The Orthodox Church shares the same date for the celebration.

"It has become a familiar observance and also important with regard to ecumenism," the Holy Father observed. "This year we are reminded that there cannot be peace without respect for the environment. We have, in fact, the duty to entrust to future generations the earth in such a state that they too can inhabit it and subsequently conserve it. May the Lord help us in this task!"

For his part, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople also released a message, reported today by L'Osservatore Romano.

For the Orthodox Church, the patriarch affirmed, the protection of the environment "is a great responsibility for every human person, independently of material or financial results."

"The direct correlation between the divine mission of 'work and preserve' and all the aspects of contemporary life is the only perspective for a harmonious coexistence with each of the elements of creation, and the whole of the natural world in general," he added.

Bartholomew I invited the Orthodox faithful to participate in this "just and titanic battle with the goal of reducing the environmental crisis and preventing the even worse consequences that could come from it."