MANILA, Jan, 19, 2015—In a prepared speech supposed to be delivered during the youth encounter at the University of Santo Tomas, Sunday, Jan. 18, the Pope, whose name was inspired by Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecologists, calls on the faithful to show concern for God’s creation, saying it means more than just recycling or using eco-friendly products.
“You are called to care for creation, not only as responsible citizens, but also as followers of Christ!,” says the pontiff, pointing to the growing threat of climate change.
‘A beautiful garden’
The pope mentions that caring for creation means more than simply using eco-friendly products or recycling.
He cites the Scripture passage Genesis 1:26-28, which mentions how men and women are made in the image and likeness of God, and given dominion over creation.
The Holy Father explains that as stewards of God’s creation, each faithful is 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,” Pope Francis notes.
According to the Holy Father, the faithful need “to see, with the eyes of faith, the beauty of God’s saving plan, the link between the natural environment and the dignity of the human person.”
The Argentine pontiff urges them to think about the moral dimension of their activities and lifestyles, their consumption and use of the earth’s resources with a view to the building up of Christ’s kingdom.
“Dear young people, the just use and stewardship of the earth’s resources is an urgent task, and you have an important contribution to make. You are the future of the Philippines. Be concerned about what is happening to your beautiful land!” he declares.
Pope Francis flew back to Rome today, Jan. 19 from Villamor Air base on board Shepherd One Philippine Airline PR 8010 at 10:00 a.m. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)