Two recent and seemingly unrelated news stories are of interest to Catholic ecologists. Their intersection speaks to a host of issues related to peace, love, and seeking both through far too much consumption.
Responding to the question, “Do we need to rediscover the meaning of leisure?” Pope Francis replies: “Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport. But this is being destroyed, in large part, by the elimination of the Sabbath rest day. More and more people work on Sundays as a consequence of the competitiveness imposed by a consumer society.” In such cases, he concludes, “work ends up dehumanizing people.”
Vanxim has about 120 houses with a population of 500 to 600. Fishing is the only source of livelihood. In 2006, much of the 800,000 sq meter island was bought by a private dealer and sold to a builders’ group that was eyeing this picturesque island to convert it into a resort. The residents are deeply divided over this controversial project and the issue has been hanging fire since then.
A former panchayat member, Manuvel Furtado, says that they want firm assurances that the resort will be constructed on the barren land only and none of the houses and other structures will be affected and none will be evacuated. The group opposing the move argues that the deal is illegal because the water bodies cannot be bought and nor can the mangroves be cut.
The developers have brought out a booklet wherein they quote a resolution of Sao Mathias Gram Panchayat, under which Vanxim comes, recommending an eco tourism project. The resort promoters have promised to develop infrastructure for basic needs, generate employment by tapping the local talent and has also assured that existing homes have not been acquired and no one will be evacuated. But there is an air of mistrust. In the nearby
, where the Divaaya resort hotel was constructed some years back, people say that the owners sold their land following an assurance that a spice garden and ponds for fishing would be developed there to generate employment for the local people. However, the promoters went back on their promise apart from employing some locals at the resort. Perhaps, Divar’s experience has made Vanxim’s residents edgy about the offer. Divar Island
None of this is bad in itself. Indeed, it is innately human. But sin disorders this quest—these urges—much as it disorders sexual desires.
[t]he new things of God are not like the novelties of this world, all of which are temporary; they come and go, and we keep looking for more. The new things which God gives to our lives are lasting, not only in the future, when we will be with him, but today as well.