Pope Calls Christians to Protect Planet

Says Rich Nations Shouldn't Abuse Resources of Poor Countries

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 27, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says a "moral awakening" in favor of the environment is needed, and rich countries should not abuse the resources of developing nations.



This exhortation forms part of the message sent in the Pope's name by Archbishop Fernando Filoni, "sostituto" of the Vatican Secretariat of State, to the 92nd Social Weeks of France, celebrated in and around Paris from Nov. 16 to 18.

The pontifical message affirmed, “It is necessary to rejoice at the fact that our contemporaries recognize more and more the need for a lasting development in order to leave to future generations a truly inhabitable planet, in the perspective offered by the Creator."

The text voiced fears of men and women of today, such as “exhausting the resources of the planet, the rapid thawing of the glaciers, the increase of the greenhouse effect, the increase of natural disasters, excessive emission of carbon dioxide.”

“These are some of the warning signs that call for a moral awakening in favor of the earth,” the Pope asserted. “Once again, poorer countries will have to suffer the most serious consequences provoked by the attitude of the industrialized world and the trust -- sometimes excessive -- in scientific and technical progress."

Benedict XVI said that God gave man his Spirit so that, with the use of reason, humans may design projects "oriented toward permitting a better distribution of the natural resources and of the goods of the earth," including a restrained use of forests and biological reserves.

“The richest nations are called not to abuse improperly the resources of the developing countries without returning to them the revenue derived from the resources of their land and underground," he affirmed. "It is a matter of the elemental principles of justice and equity and the universal destination of the goods of the earth. Besides, it is a work system about which it is necessary to reflect.”

The Pope asked that each Christian “adopt new behaviors in order to serve as guardians of nature and the environment. Human intelligence has many possibilities for stimulating a new, lasting development."