Caring for God's Creation

Learning More About Catholic Social Teachings

Caring for God's Creation

We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of God’s creation. Care for the earth is a duty of our faith and a sign of our concern for all people. We should strive to live simply to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We have a moral obligation to protect the planet on which we live—to respect God’s creation and to ensure a safe and hospitable environment for human beings, especially children at their most vulnerable stages of development. As stewards called by God to share the responsibility for the future of the earth, we should work for a world in which people respect and protect all of creation and seek to live simply in harmony with it for the sake of future generations. (Faithful Citizenship Statement, USCCB)

Scriptural Foundations

Quotes from Official Church Documents

  • “The dominion granted to man by the Creator is not an absolute power, nor can one speak of a freedom to ‘use and misuse’, or to dispose of things as one pleases. The limitations imposed from the beginning by the creator himself…shows clearly enough that, when it comes to the natural world, we are subject not only to biological laws but also to moral ones, which cannot be violated with impunity.”
    -Pope John Paul II, On Social Concern (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 34).
  • At its core, the environmental crisis is a moral challenge. It calls us to examine how we use and share the goods of the earth, what we pass on to future generations, and how we live in harmony with God’s creation.”
    -National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Renewing the Earth: An Invitation to Reflection and Action on Environment in light of Catholic Social Teaching, 1.
  • From: Leader’s Guide to Sharing Catholic Social Teaching, USCCB. 2001.
  • For further reading:
    The Busy Christian's Guide to Catholic Social Teaching (condensed)

Major Documents (Catholic Charities of Minneapolis-St. Paul)

References from the Catechism

  • 339 - Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection. For each one of the works of the "six days" it is said: "And God saw that it was good." "By the very nature of creation, material being is endowed with its own stability, truth, and excellence, its own order and laws."  208 Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God's infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment.
  • 340 - God wills the interdependence of creatures. The sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow: the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other.
  • 2415- The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity, Genesis 1:28-31). Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation, Centesimus annus, 37-38.
  • Online Catechism of the Catholic Church

Practicing Faithful Citizenship

Useful Resources for Energy Conservation

Prayer for Creation

Prayer for Ecological Conversion

God of the sun and the moon
Of the mountains, deserts and plains
God of the mighty oceans, of rivers, lakes and streams
God of all creatures that live in the seas and fly in the air
Of every living thing that grows and moves on this sacred Earth

We are formed by Christ into Your People
Called to Bring the world into Your marvelous light
As the Body of Christ, we are messengers of ecological vocation
We are entrusted with caring for this Earth which You have created

Help us to love and respect it
To repair what we have damaged
To care for what You have made good and holy
Give us the wisdom and the passion to change our minds, our hearts and our ways

Let us be mustard seeds in our world
Bringing about ecological conversion which grows and
spreads to every corner of the Earth
for our sake now
and for every generation which is to come.

We ask this through Christ, Our lord, Amen

Recognizing the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of ecology, we share this prayer offered at the launch of Catholic Earthcare Australia, 2002.