Christian Declaration

Thu, 11/01/2007

By: Father Lanfranco Serrini, Minister General, OFM Conv. Because of the responsibilities, which flow from his dual citizenship, man’s dominion cannot be understood as license to abuse, spoil, squander or destroy what God has made to manifest his glory. That dominion cannot be anything else than a stewardship in symbiosis with all creatures. On the other hand, his self-mastery in symbiosis with creation must manifest the Lord’s exclusive and absolute dominion over everything, over man and over his stewardship. At the risk of destroying himself, man may not reduce to chaos or disorder, or, worse still, destroy God’s bountiful treasures. For St. Francis, work was a God-given grace to be exercised in that spirit of faith and devotion to which every temporal consideration must be “All the animals languish, filling the air with lamentations. The woods fall in ruin. The mountains are torn open in order to carry away the metals which are produced there. But how can I speak of anything more wicked than men who, with greater zeal, have injured their country and the human race.” Leonardo da Vinci, 1490 subordinate: uncontrolled use of technology for immediate economic growth, with little or no consideration for the planet’s resources and their possible renewal; disregard for just and peaceful relations among peoples; destruction of cultures and environments during war; ill-considered exploitation of natural resources by consumer-oriented societies; unmastered and unregulated urbanization; and, the exclusive preoccupation with the present without any regard for the future quality of life. Therefore, in the name of Christ who will come to judge the living and the dead, Christians repudiate: # 1. All forms of human activity – wars, discrimination, and destruction of cultures – which do not respect the authentic interests of the human race, in accordance with God’s will and design, and do not enable men as individuals and as members of society to pursue and fulfill their total vocation within the harmony of the universe. #2. All ill-considered exploitation of nature which risks to destroy it and, in turn, to make man the victim of degradation. The Christian tradition is clear in its admonition against the misuse of creation and its creatures. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), abbess, scientist, healer, scholar, composer, artist wrote, “The high, the low, all of creation, God gives to humankind to use. If this privilege is misused, God’s Justice permits creation to punish humanity.” Former President Bill Clinton lifts up Bread for the World in his recent book GIVING. Check Bread for the World’s website at www.bread.org.