Diskorsi min-Nunzju Appostoliku u l-Vigarju Ġenerali f'għeluq ix-Xahar tal-Ħolqien
Laudato Si': Interfaith and Secular Perspectives on Care for Creation
Malta’s observance of the 2017 Christian Season of Creation, ended on Wednesday, 4th October 2017, with a public meeting entitiled ‘Laudato Si': Interfaith and Secular Perspectives on Care for Creation’, held at the Millennium Chapel, St Julian’s. The event was organised by the Church Environment Commission and Nature Trust Malta.
Speech by the Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr Alessandro D’Errico
It is with a feeling of great joy that I have been able to participate in the proceedings of this Public Seminar, Laudato Si’: Interfaith and Secular Perspectives on Care for Creation, organized by the Environment Commission of the Church in Malta and Gozo and by Nature Trust Malta.
It is indeed a praiseworthy initiative to hold this seminar on the day preceding the convocation of the Our Ocean International Conference organized by the European Union. We have all been able to listen to a number of learned reflections which all bear witness to the commitment of different peoples, women and men of good will, of different beliefs and religions, to the care of our common home.
During these past few weeks since my arrival in Malta, I have been happy to learn of the many proactive initiatives taken by Malta on the international scene to safeguard the seabed and the climate as part of the common heritage of humankind.
Today is also the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, a man loved not only by Christians but also by members of other religions. His love for nature is well known and the words of his prayer, the Canticle of the Creatures provide the opening words of the Encyclical by Pope Francis on the environment, “Laudato Si’, mi’ Signore – Praise be to you, my Lord”.
We all know that the present Pope, who bears the name of the “Poverello” of Assisi, constantly shows a deep commitment to environmental issues. He has shown this not only in his Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, but in many other pronouncements, interviews and messages, in particular his joint Messages for the World Day of Creation with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
We shall all go back to our activities with a strong commitment to strive to safeguard nature and our Oceans.
I would like to thank the Environment Commission of the Church in Malta and Gozo and Nature Trust Malta for this evening, where we have continued to grow in the love for God’s creation.
From what we have heard, I think that we shall all go back to our activities with a strong commitment to strive to safeguard nature and our Oceans.
May Creation, which surrounds us, not be considered as a possession but as a gift whose stewards we all are! Thank you.
The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Alessandro D'Errico
Speech by the Vicar General, Mgr Joe Galea Curmi
It is an honour for me to welcome you to this meeting that forms part of the activities for the 2017 Season of Creation. It is an event which has brought together a diverse group of people from different faith backgrounds and from civil society, but who nonetheless share a common appreciation for the need to care for creation.
The Season of Creation, as many of you might know, is an ecumenical event that is taking place worldwide between the 1st September and today the 4th October, the feast of Francis of Assisi. This saint is the inspiration behind the first words of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, which is medieval Italian for "Praise be to you”. Saint Francis looked at all of creation and in it found all the reasons to praise God, the Creator.
By choosing these words from St. Francis’ ‘Canticle of the Creatures’, Pope Francis wanted to remind us that a spirituality which forgets God as the loving Creator leads us to usurp the place of God, even to the point of claiming an unlimited right to trample his creation (Laudato Si’, 75).
The quaint village of St Julian’s and its surroundings are today highly commercialised and have been exploited for the maximum gains of some.
The Pope also refers to the calling of each creature by the name of brother or sister and says that if we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs (Laudato Si’, 11). One need not look far to see the result of such a relationship - the quaint village of St Julian’s and its surroundings are today highly commercialised and have been exploited for the maximum gains of some.
Laudato Si’ reminds us that the Creator has given us the dignity to be co-creators with him. The Catholic Church has always stressed the notion of the common good which it defines as “the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfilment” (Gaudium et Spes, 26).
The Pope in fact notes that it is not just nature that is threatened: “together with the patrimony of nature, there is also an historic, artistic and cultural patrimony which is likewise under threat” (Laudato Si’, 143).
For Pope Francis all this is interconnected and an integrated approach to a complex crisis is required. He writes, “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, at the same time protecting nature” (Laudato Si’, 142).
It is what the Pope calls an integral ecology, which ultimately is the promotion of life – he continues, “if everything is related, then the health of a society’s institutions affects the environment and the quality of human life. Every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harms the environment” (Laudato Si’, 142).
In essence, as we gather here today to ponder upon the different perspectives which promote the necessity to care for creation, let us not forget the interconnectedness presented to us by Pope Francis; that one cannot work for a better environment without working for a society of justice and peace, a society that promotes and protects human life. Thank you.
The Vicar General, Fr Joe Galea Curmi
Photos: Curia Communications Office