Pope Francis has declared that caring for the planet and all its inhabitants is a new work of mercy Compiled by Global Pulse UN staff
In his message for the September 1 Day of Prayer for Creation, Pope Francis has added a new work of mercy: caring for our common home, the planet and all its inhabitants, Vatican Radio reports.
At a press conference on Thursday morning, Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the new Vatican office for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Bishop Brian Farrell from the Council for Christian Unity, introduced the Pope's message for this annual observance, together with Irish author Terence Ward.
The message is entitled 'Show Mercy to our Common Home.'
"It's not every day that you have a new work of mercy in the Catholic Church!" commented Greg Burke, the new director of the Vatican Press Office.
"Caring for our Common Home. Groundbreaking and visionary, ecumenical and ecological," commented Terence Ward, author of The Guardian of Mercy.
"One could argue that this is the highest work of mercy because it includes all the others, a modern work of mercy for our modern epoch," he said.
This is a step by step process which begins by recognizing the harm we have already done through our selfish, irresponsible and greedy behavior, Cardinal Turkson explained.
"The first step in this process is to humbly acknowledge the harm we are doing to the earth through pollution, the scandalous destruction of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity, and the spectre of climate change – which seems nearer and more dangerous with each passing year. And to realize that when we hurt the earth, we also hurt the poor, whom God loves without limit," he said.
"After acknowledging the harm done and confessing our sins, we are then called to change our lives, beginning with the small changes that can lower our own carbon footprint, while also advocating for an economic and political system that is just and sustainable, rather than focused on short term financial and electoral gains," Cardinal Turkson concluded.