With the intersection of the presidential election in America, the opening on Sunday of the Year of Faith, and the start of a special synod on the New Evangelization, Catholic ecologists should reflect on the place of government in environmental protection, especially when seen through the eyes of faith.
|Photo: Flicker/Roger Blackwell|
Photo: Flicker/Catholic Church-England and Wales
“The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State.” In asserting that the church and the state are separate entities, however, the Holy Father does not mean that one should be isolated from the other.
“[The Church] cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice,” he continues. “She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply.”
“There will always be suffering which cries out for consolation and help,” the Holy Father tells us. “There will always be loneliness. There will always be situations of material need where help in the form of concrete love of neighbor is indispensable. The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern.”
The above includes material from William Louis Patenaude's upcoming book Catholic Ecology: Its Place in Orthodoxy, a Culture of Life, and New Evangelization.