Climate Change and Benedict

The General Secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, as early as November 2007, described the condition of planet Earth before the UN Assembly in New York as “extremely at risk.” A UN investigatory commission determined that only a few decades remained for mankind until a point of no return – where it is too late to gain control of the problem of the high-tech world on our own. Some experts from various fields even consider that we have already reached this point.

In light of this, Peter Seewald (a reporter), in a private interview with Pope Benedict XVI asked, “Is the earth quite simply not sustaining the enormous developmental potential of our species? Is it perhaps not designed at all for us to remain here in the long run? Or are we doing something wrong?”

In reply, Pope Benedict explained, “Sacred Scripture tells us, and experience too tells us, that we do not remain here forever. But surely we are doing something wrong. I think that the problematic nature of the concept of progress has some bearing on it. The modern era has tried to find its way according to the fundamental concepts of progress and freedom. But what is progress? Today we see that progress can also be destructive. In this regard we should reflect on what criteria we must find so that progress really is progress.

“The concept of progress originally had two aspects: On the one hand, there was progress in knowledge. People understood this to mean comprehending reality. That has also happened to an incredible extent through the combination of the mathematical worldview and experimentation. As a result, today we can reconstruct DNA, the structure of life, and in general the functional structure of all reality – to the point where by now we can partially copy it and already begin to manufacture life ourselves. In this respect new possibilities for humanity have also come about with this progress.

“The basic idea was: progress is knowledge. But knowledge is power. That means: if I know, then I can also control. Knowledge brought power, but in such a way that with our own power we can now also destroy the world that we think we have figured out intellectually.

“So it becomes apparent that in the previous concept of progress, compounded of knowledge and power, an essential perspective is lacking, namely, the aspect of good. This is the question: What is good? Where should knowledge lead power? Is it just a matter of being able to control in general – or must we also ask the question about the intrinsic standards, about what is good for humankind in an adequate way. When one’s own power is the only thing being advanced by one’s knowledge, this sort of progress becomes really destructive.”


About Passionist JPIC Australia

I am a priest with the Passionist Congregation and a part of our Australian Province which includes Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. I have been ordained since December of 1992. I was born in the Philippines, though am from Spanish decent. I came to Australia in 1972 with my family when I was 11 years old, and we settled in Brisbane. That is where I did the rest of my growing up. On completing high school, I went to Queensland University where I studied for 4 years, completing a B.Sc. with a major in Microbiology. The following year I decided to enter into the Passionist Congregation to study for the priesthood. I trained for 9 years, and have been a priest for 25 years. In my time as a priest I have been Director of the Passionist Family Group Movement in Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland; conducted over 400 Parish Missions all around Australia and New Zealand, but particularly in Victoria and Western Australia; worked in adult faith education, Sacramental preparation for children and parents; Hospital chaplaincy; High school chaplaincy, in-services and retreats. In the year 200 I became engaged in developing young adult retreat teams and training them to carry on our high school retreat programs. I am also chair of our Province’s committee for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC). I am also a member of ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans).
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2 Responses to Climate Change and Benedict

  1. Betty says:

    I added your site to my favorites.

    my site: wikilog

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