In yesterday’s impassioned sermon to the European Parliament, Pope Francis continued in his theme of environmental protection.
Our earth needs constant concern and attention. Each of us has a personal responsibility to care for creation, this precious gift which God has entrusted to us. This means, on the one hand, that nature is at our disposal, to enjoy and use properly. Yet it also means that we are not its masters. Stewards, but not masters. We need to love and respect nature, but “instead we are often guided by the pride of dominating, possessing, manipulating, exploiting; we do not ‘preserve’ the earth, we do not respect it, we do not consider it as a freely-given gift to look after”. Respect for the environment, however, means more than not destroying it; it also means using it for good purposes.
In Croatia, where 85% of it’s citizens are baptized Roman Catholics, the power of church was instrumental in the controversial and unfortunately successful, 2013 referendum against same-sex marriage.
Where will the faithful stand on the issue of Adriatic Oil drilling. Will the Catholic Church in Croatia stand up and fight to protect the Adriatic sea? Will it actively engage it’s members to stand in support of a referendum to protect the sea?
And what about the pious political leaders of Croatia? This year the Pope is expected to release his new encyclical on Creation, and respect for the environment. Will they listen?
In Strasbourg yesterday Pope Francis also called for Europe to look at renewable energy technologies as a solution for enhancing the economic future of young people.
Young people today are asking for a suitable and complete education which can enable them to look to the future with hope instead of disenchantment. There is so much creative potential in Europe in the various fields of scientific research, some of which have yet to be fully explored. We need only think, for example, of alternative sources of energy, the development of which will assist in the protection of the environment.
Let’s all hope that Croatia’s political leaders and the Croatian Church will follow the words of Pope Francis and work to eschew corruption and environmental exploitation. However, if they continue in their current deceitful, corrupt and destructive practices, I won’t be sorry to see them thrown in the sea with a millstone around the neck.