Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, DD, a long and staunch defender of the environment, has repeatedly called for a stop to all mining operations in the city and in the country and has scored the seeming “business as usual” stance of city government officials following the devastation caused by Sendong.
The bottom line of all this is that at the core of St. Giles’ love of the land and of creatures—and of his critique of the gluttony of the wealthy—is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church. Giles understood (perhaps rather elaborately) what it meant to be a protector of the natural world and, thus, how we humans must be related to it.
The great hymn of the Exsultet, which the deacon sings at the beginning of the Easter liturgy, points us quite gently towards a further aspect. It reminds us that this object, the candle, has its origin in the work of bees. So the whole of creation plays its part. In the candle, creation becomes a bearer of light. But in the mind of the Fathers, the candle also in some sense contains a silent reference to the Church. The cooperation of the living community of believers in the Church in some way resembles the activity of bees. It builds up the community of light. So the candle serves as a summons to us to become involved in the community of the Church, whose raison d’être is to let the light of Christ shine upon the world.
3. A new Prince of the Church has a strong environmental justice track record
We invite all the Christ faithful: religious, clergy, catechists and laity; including, Youth, Catholic Women Associations, Catholic Men Associations and all other lay associations to prioritize their engagement with environmental care as a way of appreciating and advancing the creative mission of God whose image we bear.The areas of engagement include, in general: education, farming and agriculture and tree planting. Through our Catholic institutions, schools, parishes, retreat centres, pastoral centres, shrines and Church owned land, we are committed to realize this dream of building a healthy society, a healthy earth and a healthy Church.
Indeed how could one claim to bring about peace, the integral development of peoples or even the protection of the environment without defending the life of those who are weakest, beginning with the unborn. Every offence against life, especially at its beginning, inevitably causes irreparable damage to development, peace and the environment.
Amen to that.