The church teaches that a responsibility towards creation comes from a correct order in each person’s life. The degradation of nature is closely linked to the degradation of our own spiritual lives.
Young people cannot be asked to respect the environment if they do not find a respect for themselves, society, family life and moral laws. The environment and the person are closely related to one another; you cannot love and respect nature if you do not love and respect God and yourself. Many people have made a new religion out of respecting nature without reference to God. It doesn’t work; it will not last. Love of God, the love of our neighbour and the respect for ourselves all go hand in hand.
If we care for nature we realise that God, through creation, cares for us and the other way around. You cannot somehow make nature the “absolute” and consider it more important than the human person. There was once a heresy which venerated nature. It is called pantheism and it leads to paganism. People used to worship the sun and other aspects of nature. We should not make a deity out of something which was created by God.
If we want to cultivate peace and protect nature, we must do this by acknowledging the relationship between God, human beings and creation. World leaders and all of us who want justice and peace must build a world where nature is respected by ourselves as well as future generations. We cannot remain indifferent to what is happening around us because the deterioration of any one part of the planet affects each and every one of us.
At present there is one extreme danger which is very familiar to all Ukrainians, namely the potential for destruction by nuclear energy. In a single moment a nuclear war can destroy not only human life but also the whole planet.
The matter of protecting the environment is not something which we should continue to downplay or ignore. It is not something that we should try to solve without acknowledging the role of God in all of this. Our problem is that at present more people care about nature than they do about God. Let’s put these matters into perspective.
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