Year of Faith and the Environment Part Two

Archdiocese of Los Angeles Office of Life, Justice and Peace

Creation Sustainability Ministry

Year of Faith and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church


“I…hope that we will make this the year when we begin the habit of life-long learning in our faith. A good place to start is to study the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), especially as they are expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.” (9)

“…I recommend that in this Year of Faith, we begin a practical study of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church in our parishes and our homes.” (12)

Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles

Witness to the New World of Faith: A Pastoral Letter to the Family of God in Los Angeles on the New Evangelization and Our Missionary Call (October 2012)


Chapter Ten of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Safeguarding the Environment

Thoughts and Reflection Questions on Man and the Universe of Created Things, 456-460


Biblical precepts offer a guide for humanity’s pursuit of dominion, not dominance over creation.  This requires reverence for the interconnectedness of the human and physical dimensions of creation and development of philosophical, scientific and technological disciplines.

“The biblical vision inspires the behavior of Christians in relation to their use of the earth and also with regard to the advances of science and technology…the progress made thanks to the tireless application of human genius…whether in the empirical sciences, the technological disciplines or the liberal arts…For man, “created in God’s image”, received a mandate to subject to himself the earth and all it contains and to govern the world with justice and holiness, a mandate to relate himself and the totality of things to him who was to be acknowledged as the Lord and Creator of all…”(456)


Science and technology can exist as affirmation of humanity’s creativity infused with God’s grace in respect for the goodness of creation.

“The results of science and technology are, in themselves positive.  Far from thinking the works produced by man’s own talent and energy are in opposition to God’s power, and that the rational creature exists as a kind of rival to the Creator, Christians are convinced that the triumph of the human race are a sign of God’s grace and flowering of His own mysterious designs…the greater man’s power becomes, the farther his individual and community responsibility extends…” (457)


Technology can address challenging global issues, but the primary impact and externalities must be evaluated, since every technological advance comes embedded with consequences that need the scrutiny of moral principles affirming human dignity.

“…technology could be a priceless tool in solving many serious problems…It is important however, to repeat the concept “proper application ,”for we know the potential is not neutral:  it can be used either for man’s progress or for his degradation. For this reason, it is necessary to maintain an attitude of prudence and attentively sift out the nature, ends and means of the various forms of applied technology…being able to subordinate them to moral principles and values, which respect and realize in its fullness the dignity of man.” (458)



In using science and technology, the interrelationship of creation –humanity, all living creatures and the physical environment – must be affirmed.  Indiscriminate manipulation of creation without regard for unethical and harmful consequences on humanity and ecosystems, today and in the future, denies respect for the Creator.

“A central point of reference for every scientific and technological application is respect for men and women, which must also be accompanied by a necessary attitude of respect for other living creatures…and to the well-being of future generations.”(459)


: All we have is a gift from God.  In respect and praise, our actions must honor the gift, so we acknowledge our partnership with God.

“Man…, must never forget that his capacity to transform and in a certain sense create the world through his own work…is always based on God’s prior and original gift of things that are.   He (man) must not make arbitrary use of the earth, subjecting it without restraint to his will…When he acts in this way, instead of carrying out his role as co-operator with God in the work of creation and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature, which is more tyrannized than governed by him…”(460)


To read the full text of paragraphs 456 thru 460 visit:



Questions for Personal Reflection or Group Discussion



How can your studies, work or volunteer involvement contribute to awareness of the interconnectedness of creation?

Reflect on five technological advances that have enhanced care for God’s creation.

 Describe three ways biblical precepts could contribute to the world being better governed with justice.  How might you become involved?



What aspects of technology do you encounter in your daily life that affirms humanity’s participation as co-creator with God?

In what ways do you see technology trying to rival God?

As a consumer, how can you influence economic progress to respect the goodness of creation?



What applications of solar technology could diminish global poverty?

Where do you see technological advances in agriculture negatively impacting creation? How can you be a voice to raise awareness of these issues?

In what ways do you keep informed about scientific and technological advances?



Draw a diagram representing your interconnectedness to creation.  What links in the diagram could you strengthen?  What new links could you add?

Take a walk and mentally note the interconnectivity of the eco-system.

In the last five years, ten years and hundred years, what have been the greatest unpredictable, manipulations of creation?  What could have been done to mitigate the negative impacts?   How might these experiences influence our technology and consumer decisions today?



In what ways do you actively participate with God as co-creator?

In your life what are the five most important gifts from God in the physical reality of creation?  In what ways do you say, “Thank you?”

How do you see nature abused and damaged in your community?  In what ways do you get involved to address these concerns?


By  Barb Born April 4, 2013




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