Since his selection in February 2013, the 266th pope of the Catholic Church has advised the faithful on poverty, mercy, and even the economy, but his words on the environment have meaning for believers and non-believers alike.
Millions of people worldwide have long looked to the Pope for moral guidance on world issues. Pope Francis is well on his way to being one of the more popular of the Catholic leaders, renowned in the media for his inclusive and candid commentary on how a good person should live.
As climate change, pollution, and rapid urban expansion have come to the forefront of the news, it’s not surprising that Pope Francis, a trained chemist whose namesake is the patron saint of animals, has voiced his opinion on how to treat Earth.
Francis has been the most outspoken pope to date on the issue, releasing a groundbreaking papal encyclical on the environment, and continuously appealing to world leaders and the United Nations to take action on climate change.
He’s repeatedly said that preserving the environment for future generations is both a Christian and universal obligation.
Read below for ten great quotes from Francis’s campaign to call attention to nature and the need to save it.
“As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling.”
“The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”
“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? The question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal.”
“May the relationship between man and nature not be driven by greed, to manipulate and exploit, but may the divine harmony between beings and creation be conserved in the logic of respect and care.”
“When I look at America, also my own homeland (South America), so many forests, all cut, that have become land… that can longer give life. This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to her give us what she has within her.”
“I don’t know if climate change is all man’s fault, but the majority is. For the most part, it is man who continuously slaps down nature. We have, in a sense, lorded it over nature, over Sister Earth, over Mother Earth. I think man has gone too far.”
“When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society.”
“Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude. Safeguard Creation. Because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us! Never forget this!”
“Every creature, particularly a living creature, has intrinsic value, in its existence, its life, its beauty and its interdependence with other creatures.”
“In all religions, the environment is a fundamental good.”
Thanks for the powerful words, Pope Francis.