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Environmental Ethics

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Catholic Perspective

Over the years, the Catholic Church has made numerous statements concering environmental moral ethics and teachings.


           The Catholic moral teaching on the subject of environmental ethincs states that Christians have a due respect for nature; they are called to be responsible for the integrity of the environment, to exert a "fair distribution of responsibility for pollution and environmental dangers." (Joseph Stoutzenberger)
          The moral principle underlying this teaching is respect for life. When we are indifferent to the integrity of environmental, we are indifferent to the harm of human life. Negative impacts on the environment effect the entire ecosystem. We, as humans, are dependent on the environment for our heath and our survival. Through pollution and other destructive actions, we not only harm the environment and ourselves but also our future generations.

PEACE WITH GOD THE CREATOR, PEACE WITH ALL OF CREATION: Pope John Paul II's 1990 World Day for Peace message

          In this document, Pope John Paul II reminds Christians of the due respect for nature and respect for life concerning environmental issues. He states some of the conditions in our "ecological crisis", and relates them to societies selfish attempts to advance science and technology, economics and other material reasons. He cites scriptural references to reaffirm the moral teachings, such as in Genesis, during creation, "God saw that it was good."


COMPANIONS IN CREATION: A 1991 pastoral statement of the Catholic bishops of Florida.

          In this document, the authors state that all creation is of God, and is therefor good, in reference to Genesis. According to scriptures, humans are called to have "dominion over all living things." This is a responsibility of every human and should not be exploited.


GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE:A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good 2001. Statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops

          In this document, the authors focus on the environmental issues surrounding recent climate changes. They call for prudence, "intelligence applied to our actions," and thus support the funding of scientific research in this area. They cite Catholic social teachings such as striving for the common good, responsibility, concern for future generations, and promoting the "flourishing of all human life."