By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis is urging the men and women of our time to be responsible for others and our common planet and contribute more concretely so that all may share the precious resources of the earth.
Responsibility for others, the earth
“Each of us also has a responsibility for others and for the future of our planet. In a similar way, the economy must serve man, not exploit him and rob him of his resources,” the Pope said on Saturday to a group of 100 entrepreneurs who have gathered in Rome for an event called the “Roman Forum” on the occasion of the September 1 World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, on Saturday.
The group is discussing Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical “‘Laudato Si’, on care for our common home”, in order to commit themselves more adequately to sustainability. Later in 2015, the Pope instituted the Catholic Church’s World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation that is celebrated annually on September 1.
Model of St. Francis
In his talk to the businessmen, the Holy Father held out the figure of Francis of Assisi, whose name he assumed on becoming Pope, saying the 13th century Italian saint is an “example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically”.
“For the saint,” the Pope said, “every contact with people and concrete things became an encounter with the Creator.” “From his faith in God came his mission for justice, peace and respect for creation.”
Today, the Pope said, we are called to make use of the possibilities that technology makes available to us, with a good use of resources, helping in particular the countries most affected by poverty and degradation to embark on the path of renewal and sustainable and integral development.
Francis and environment
On his election as Pope on March 13, 2013, Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio adopted the name of St. Francis, and made the environment, sustainable development and just distribution of the earth’s goods important concerns of his papacy.
He released his environmental encyclical “Laudato Si” on these issues in May 2015. In August that year, he instituted September 1 as the Catholic Church’s World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, joining the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople that has been observing September 1 as the “Day of Protection for the Environment” since 1989.