The Garden of God

The Garden of God

Edited by Maria Milvia Morciano
With a foreword by Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugués
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    The Garden of God
    Book Description:

    This book gathers together the audiences, addresses, letters, and homilies of Benedict on a wide-ranging set of topics that deal with the world about us. The major themes and connections he explores are creation and the natural world; the environment, science, and technology; and hunger, poverty, and the earth's resources.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-2580-7
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. FOREWORD: The Urgency of a Human Ecology
    (pp. ix-xviii)

    In recent years, photovoltaic panels have been installed on the roof of the principal auditorium of the Vatican to produce electricity from the Roman sun. Its dining rooms now benefit from a solar cooling system. To compensate for its carbon dioxide emissions, the Vatican has begun to cultivate a several-hundred-acre climatic forest in Bükk (Hungary), thereby becoming the first climatically neutral country. Although it is true that the Vatican is the smallest country in the world, it is also true that in matters of ecology one cannot give advice to others if one does not start by applying that advice...


    • In Contact with Nature, Individuals Rediscover That They Are Creatures “Capable of God”
      (pp. 3-3)

      In the world in which we live, the need to be physically and mentally replenished has become as it were essential, especially to those who dwell in cities where the often frenzied pace of life leaves little room for silence, reflection, and relaxing contact with nature. Moreover, holidays are days on which we can give even more time to prayer, reading, and meditation on the profound meaning of life in the peaceful context of our own family and loved ones. The vacation period affords unique opportunities for reflection as we face the stirring views of nature, a marvelous “book” within...

    • Creation Is a Gift So That It Might Become the Garden of God and Hence a Garden for Men and Women
      (pp. 4-6)

      Let us ask ourselves now, at this Pentecost Vigil, who or what is the Holy Spirit? How can we recognize him? How do we go to him and how does he come to us? What does he do?

      The Church’s great Pentecostal hymn with which we began Vespers, “Veni, Creator Spiritus… Come, Holy Spirit,” gives us a first answer. Here the hymn refers to the first verses of the Bible that describe the creation of the universe with recourse to images.

      The Bible says first of all that the Spirit of God was moving over the chaos, over the...

    • Creation, with All of Its Gifts, Aspires Above and Beyond Itself
      (pp. 7-10)

      On the eve of his Passion, during the Passover meal, the Lord took the bread in his hands—as we heard a short time ago in the Gospel passage—and, having blessed it, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: “Take this, this is my body.” He then took the chalice, gave thanks, and passed it to them and they all drank from it. He said: “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many” (Mk 14:22–24).

      The entire history of God with humanity is recapitulated in these...

    • The Amazon River, a Fountain of Life
      (pp. 10-13)

      Since I am unable to be present in person at the new and important meeting for the safeguard of creation, which you have organized with the Sixth Symposium on “Religion, Science, and the Environment,” dedicated to the Amazon River, I entrust the task of bringing you my cordial greeting to Cardinal Roger Etchegaray.

      I am grateful to you, Your Holiness, for having arranged that the preparation of the symposium take place in close collaboration with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Brazil.

      In fact, Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, Archbishop of São Salvador da Bahia, will be taking part and will not...

    • The “Ecology of Peace”
      (pp. 13-17)

      8. In his encyclical letterCentesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II wrote: “Not only has God given the earth to man, who must use it with respect for the original good purpose for which it was given to him, but man too is God’s gift to man. He must therefore respect the natural and moral structure with which he has been endowed.”² By responding to this charge, entrusted to them by the Creator, men and women can join in bringing about a world of peace. Alongside the ecology of nature, there exists what can be called a “human” ecology, which in...

    • Man Has Received Creation So That He Might Implement God’s Plan
      (pp. 18-19)

      1. We, Benedict XVI, Pope and Bishop of Rome, and Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Nea Justiniana and All Cyprus, full of hope for the future of our Churches’ relations, thank God with joy for this fraternal meeting in our common faith in the Risen Christ. This visit has enabled us to observe how these relations have increased, both at a local level and in the context of the theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church as a whole….

      8. At the same time, these ethical considerations and a shared concern for human life prompt us to invite those nations...

    • The Arctic: Mirror of Life
      (pp. 19-21)

      It gives me great joy to greet you and all those taking part in the Seventh Symposium of the Religion, Science, and the Environment movement, which this year turns its attention to the subject: “The Arctic: Mirror of Life.” Your own dedication and personal commitment to the protection of the environment demonstrates the pressing need for science and religion to work together to safeguard the gifts of nature and to promote responsible stewardship. Through the presence of Cardinal Mc-Carrick I wish to reaffirm my fervent solidarity with the aims of the project and to assure you of my hope for...

    • The Wonder of Creation and the Scars Which Mark the Surface of the Earth
      (pp. 21-27)

      For some of us, it might seem like we have come to the end of the world! For people of your age, however, any flight is an exciting prospect. But for me, this one was somewhat daunting! Yet the views afforded of our planet from the air were truly wondrous. The sparkle of the Mediterranean, the grandeur of the North African desert, the lushness of Asia’s forestation, the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, the horizon upon which the sun rose and set, and the majestic splendor of Australia’s natural beauty which I have been able to enjoy these last couple...

    • What Air Is for Biological Life, the Holy Spirit Is for Spiritual Life
      (pp. 27-32)

      Every time we celebrate the Eucharist we live in faith the mystery that is fulfilled on the altar, that is, we take part in the supreme act of love that Christ accomplished with his death and Resurrection. The one and only center of the liturgy and Christian life itself the Paschal Mystery acquires in the various solemnities and feasts specific “forms,” with additional meanings and special gifts of grace. Pentecost is distinguished from all the solemnities by its importance since what Jesus himself had announced as the purpose of the whole of his mission on earth is brought about in...

    • The Protection of Creation
      (pp. 32-35)

      The various phenomena of environmental degradation and natural disasters which, unfortunately, are often reported in the news remind us of the urgent need to respect nature as we should, recovering and appreciating a correct relationship with the environment in everyday life. A new sensitivity to these topics that justly give rise to concern on the part of the authorities and of public opinion is developing and is expressed in the increasing number of meetings, also at the international level.

      The earth is indeed a precious gift of the Creator who, in designing its intrinsic order, has given us bearings that...

    • The Keys to the Earth Are in the Hands of Man
      (pp. 35-36)

      The Holy See pavilion, one of the most visited and appreciated, housed an important exhibition of the valuable artistic, cultural, and religious patrimony that the Church looks after. The initiative aimed to offer its numerous visitors a timely reflection on the importance and fundamental value of water for human life.

      Through its participation in the Zaragoza Expo, the Holy See sought not only to demonstrate the imperative need to protect the environment and nature constantly but also to discover their deepest spiritual and religious dimension. Today, as never before, it is essential to help people grasp that creation is something...

    • Creation Is Marked by Finitude
      (pp. 36-38)

      This year, we have been accompanied along our itinerary through the Sunday biblical readings by St. Mark’s Gospel, which today presents to us part of Jesus’ discourse on the end of times. In this discourse is a phrase whose terse clarity is striking: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mk 13:31). Let us pause a moment to reflect on this prophecy of Christ.

      The expression “heaven and earth” recurs frequently in the Bible in reference to the whole universe, the entire cosmos. Jesus declares that all this is destined to “pass away”; not...

    • If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation
      (pp. 38-52)

      1. At the beginning of this New Year, I wish to offer heartfelt greetings of peace to all Christian communities, international leaders, and people of good will throughout the world. For this forty-third World Day of Peace I have chosen the theme: “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation.” Respect for creation is of immense consequence, not least because “creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God’s works” and its preservation has now become essential for the pacific coexistence of mankind.21Man’s inhumanity to man has given rise to numerous threats to peace and to authentic and integral...

    • The Protection of Creation, an Element of Peace and of Justice
      (pp. 52-61)

      The Church is open to everyone because, in God, she lives for others! She thus shares deeply in the fortunes of humanity, which in this new year continues to be marked by the dramatic crisis of the global economy and consequently a serious and widespread social instability. In my encyclicalCaritas in Veritate, I invited everyone to look to the deeper causes of this situation: in the last analysis, they are to be found in a current self-centered and materialistic way of thinking which fails to acknowledge the limitations inherent in every creature. Today I would like to stress that...

    • The Word of God and the Protection of Creation
      (pp. 61-62)

      108. Engagement with the world, as demanded by God’s word, makes us look with new eyes at the entire created cosmos, which contains traces of that word through whom all things were made (cf. Jn 1:2). As men and women who believe in and proclaim the Gospel, we have a responsibility toward creation. Revelation makes known God’s plan for the cosmos, yet it also leads us to denounce that mistaken attitude which refuses to view all created realities as a reflection of their Creator, but instead as mere raw material, to be exploited without scruple. Man thus lacks that essential humility...

    • In Contemplating Creation Man Has a Profound Sense of Gratitude and Recognition, but Also of Responsibility for Tilling and Keeping the Work of God
      (pp. 63-65)

      Sports are one of the means that contribute to the person’s harmonious development and to his moral perfection.59Your duty as “ski instructors” helps to stimulate various capacities, for example, for persistence in pursuing goals, for respecting rules, and for tenacity in confronting and surmounting difficulties. Practiced ethically and with passion, sports become a training ground for learning and developing human and Christian values, as well as for practicing a healthy spirit of competition. In fact, they teach the harmonization of important dimensions of the human being, favoring their integral development. Through sports, a person understands better that his body...

    • The World Is a Product of Creative Reason
      (pp. 65-71)

      The liturgical celebration of the Easter Vigil makes use of two eloquent signs. First there is the fire that becomes light. As the procession makes its way through the church, shrouded in the darkness of the night, the light of the paschal candle becomes a wave of lights, and it speaks to us of Christ as the true morning star that never sets—the Risen Lord in whom light has conquered darkness. The second sign is water. On the one hand, it recalls the waters of the Red Sea, decline and death, the mystery of the Cross. But now it...

    • The Earth Seen from Space Is Beautiful and Fragile
      (pp. 71-72)

      One of the themes I often return to in my discourses concerns the responsibility we all have toward the future of our planet. I recall the serious risks facing the environment and the survival of future generations. Scientists tell us we have to be careful and from an ethical point of view we must develop our consciences as well.

      From your extraordinary observation point, how do you see the situation on Earth?

      Do you see signs or phenomena to which we need to be more attentive?

      Ron Garan, U.S.A.:

      Well, Your Holiness, it’s a great honor to speak with you...

    • Human Ecology Is an Imperative Need
      (pp. 73-76)

      Since I have the opportunity for a special meeting with each one of you, I would now like to speak more broadly. The first six months of this year have been marked by innumerable tragedies which have concerned nature, technology, and peoples. The magnitude of these catastrophes calls us to wonder. Man comes first, as it is right to remember. Man, to whom God entrusted the good stewardship of nature, cannot be dominated by technology or subjected to it. An awareness of this must bring states to reflect together on the future of the planet in the short term, facing...

    • The Created World Is Not Merely a Scenario into Which God’s Saving Action Is Inserted, but Rather the Very Beginning of That Marvelous Action
      (pp. 76-83)

      Today I would like to meditate with you on a psalm that sums up the entire history of salvation recorded in the Old Testament. It is a great hymn of praise that celebrates the Lord in the multiple, repeated expressions of his goodness throughout human history: it is Psalm 136 or 135 according to the Greco-Latin tradition.

      A solemn prayer of thanksgiving, known as the “Great Hallel,” this psalm is traditionally sung at the end of the Jewish Passover meal and was probably also prayed by Jesus at the Last Supper celebrated with his disciples. In fact, the annotation of...

    • Be Praised My Lord through All Your Creatures
      (pp. 83-88)

      I welcome you with great joy at this meeting dedicated to your commitment to “Sister Nature,” to use the name of the Foundation that has sponsored it. I cordially greet Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga and thank him for his words to me also on your behalf, and for his gift of the precious facsimile of Codex 338 which contains the most ancient Franciscan sources.

      I greet the president, Mr. Roberto Leoni, as well as the authorities and important figures present and the numerous teachers and parents. However, above all I greet you, dear boys and girls, dear young people! It is...


    • The Harmony of Faith and Knowledge
      (pp. 91-94)

      Holy Father, I am Giovanni, I am seventeen years old, I am studying at Giovanni Giorgi technological and scientific secondary school in Rome, and I belong to Holy Mary Mother of Mercy Parish.

      I ask you to help us to understand better how biblical revelation and scientific theory can converge in the search for truth.

      We are often led to believe that knowledge and faith are each other’s enemies; that knowledge and technology are the same thing; that it was through mathematical logic that everything was discovered; that the world is the result of an accident; and that if mathematics...

    • Remembrance of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Tragedy at Chernobyl
      (pp. 94-94)

      Today is the twentieth anniversary of the tragic accident which occurred in the nuclear power plant of Chernobyl. I feel the need to express my great appreciation for the families, associations, civil authorities, and Christian communities who, over these years, have striven to house and care for the people, especially the children, struck by the consequences of that painful event. As once again we pray for the victims of so immense a tragedy and for those who carry the signs on their bodies, we call on the Lord to enlighten the people responsible for the fate of humanity that they,...

    • Environment, Human Person, Spiritual Values: Three Challenges to Face in the Service of Justice Inspired by Charity
      (pp. 95-98)

      As the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences gathers for its thirteenth plenary session, I am pleased to greet you and your distinguished confreres and to convey my prayerful good wishes for your deliberations.

      The academy’s meeting this year is devoted to an examination of the theme: “Charity and Justice in the Relations among Peoples and Nations.” The Church cannot fail to be interested in this subject, inasmuch as the pursuit of justice and the promotion of the civilization of love are essential aspects of her mission of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Certainly the building of a just society...

    • The Irresponsible Exploitation of the Environment Reflects an Inhumane Concept of Development
      (pp. 98-101)

      The Church’s diplomatic relations form a part of her mission of service to the international community. This engagement with civil society is anchored in her conviction that the hope of building a more just world must acknowledge man’s super-natural vocation. It is from God that men and women receive their essential dignity and with it the capacity and the call to direct their steps toward truth and goodness.⁶ Within this broad perspective we can counter the pragmatic tendency, so prevalent today, which tends to engage only with the symptoms of social fragmentation and moral confusion. Where humanity’s transcendent dimension is...

    • Scientific Knowledge and Technology Are Always Applied in Full Respect for International Rights
      (pp. 102-103)

      Last Sunday, recalling the “Note” that Pope Benedict XV addressed to the belligerent countries in the First World War on 1 August ninety years ago, I dwelled on the theme of peace.

      Now a new occasion invites me to reflect on another important subject connected with this theme. Precisely today, in fact, is the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the charter of the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, instituted with the mandate to “accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health, and prosperity throughout the world.”11

      The Holy See, fully approving the goals of this...

    • Strengthening the Alliance between Man and the Environment
      (pp. 103-104)

      Today is the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Montreal Protocol on substances that impoverish the ozone layer, causing serious damage to the human being and the ecosystem.

      In the past two decades, thanks to exemplary collaboration in the international community between politics, science, and economics, important results have been achieved with positive repercussions on the present and future generations.

      I hope that cooperation on everyone’s part will be intensified in order to promote the common good and the development and safeguard of creation, strengthening the alliance between man and the environment, which must mirror the creative love of...

    • Family, Human Community, and the Environment
      (pp. 104-106)

      7. The family needs a home, a fit environment in which to develop its proper relationships.For the human family, this home is the earth, the environment that God the Creator has given us to inhabit with creativity and responsibility. We need to care for the environment: it has been entrusted to men and women to be protected and cultivated with responsible freedom, with the good of all as a constant guiding criterion. Human beings, obviously, are of supreme worth vis-à-vis creation as a whole. Respecting the environment does not mean considering material or animal nature more important than man. Rather,...

    • New Men for a New World
      (pp. 106-107)

      Humanity needs to be liberated and redeemed. Creation itself—as St. Paul says—suffers and nurtures the hope that it will share in the freedom of the children of God (cf. Rom 8:19–22). These words are true in today’s world too. Creation is suffering. Creation is suffering and waiting for real freedom; it is waiting for a different, better world; it is waiting for “redemption.” And deep down it knows that this new world that is awaited supposes a new man; it supposes “children of God.”

      Let us take a closer look at the situation of today’s world. While,...

    • Natural Law as a Guarantee against Manipulations and Abuses against Man
      (pp. 108-108)

      Then, regarding the third theme, “sense and method of theology,” that has been the special object of study in this quinquennial, I am keen to underline its relevance and actuality. In a “planetary society” as that which is being formed today, theologians are asked by the public opinion above all to promote dialogue between religions and cultures, to contribute to the development of an ethic that has as its own base network peace, justice, and the defense of the natural environment. And this truly concerns fundamental goods. But a theology limited to these noble objectives would lose not only its...

    • More Modest Lifestyles to Slow Down Environmental Degradation
      (pp. 109-111)

      Our meeting is taking place on the occasion of today’s celebration of World Tourism Day. The theme this year—“Tourism Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change”—points to a very timely problem, which concerns the potential of the tourist sector with regard to the state of the planet and of humanity’s well-being. Both your institutions seek to promote a tourism attentive to the integral advancement of the person, with a view to sustainability and solidarity. This makes you qualified agents in the work of safeguarding and responsibly making the most of the resources of creation, an immense gift of...

    • The Use of Alternative Energies Contributes to Mankind’s Desire to Be Better Stewards of God’s Creation
      (pp. 111-112)

      On the global scene, the Holy See appreciates the interest your country has shown in favoring a greater involvement of the international community in the promotion of peace through the defense of human rights and the rule of law, in the struggle against poverty and especially in the protection of the environment. Your country’s experience and technological expertise in the use of alternative energies can be of great service to other populations and contribute to mankind’s desire to be better stewards of God’s creation. I likewise cannot fail to commend Iceland’s concern for those who suffer the effects of war...

    • Man Knows the Advantage That the Universe Has over Him; the Universe, Instead, Knows Nothing
      (pp. 112-116)

      Ever since the mid-nineteenth century when the Augustinian Abbot, Gregor Mendel, discovered the laws of the heredity of characteristics, for which he is considered the founder of genetics, this science has truly taken giant steps in the understanding of that language which is at the foundation of biological information and determines the development of a living being. It is for this reason that modern genetics has a particularly important place in the biological disciplines that have contributed to the wonderful development of the knowledge of the invisible architecture of the human body and the cellular and molecular processes that dictate...

    • Even the Decisions of Individuals, Families, and Local Administrations Are Fundamental for the Preservation of the Environment
      (pp. 116-118)

      Today the Lord grants us to begin a new year in his Name and under the gaze of Mary Most Holy, the solemnity of whose Divine Motherhood we are celebrating today. I am glad to meet you for this first Angelus of 2010. I address those of you who have gathered in large numbers in St. Peter’s Square and also those who have joined us in our prayer via radio and television. I wish for you all that the year which has just begun may be a time in which, with the Lord’s help, we may satisfy Christ and God’s...

    • Social Responsibility Means More Attention to the Needs of Workers, the Good of the Community, and the Respect of the Environment
      (pp. 118-121)

      I would also like to express my pleasure at your project of cooperation with the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel, in the endeavor to respond to the emergency in water and energy resources in their developing countries.

      I have also seen with great interest your “Charter of Values” and “Ethical Code” that recall the principles of responsibility, transparency, correctness, and the spirit of service and collaboration that ACEA invokes. These are the guidelines that this board desires to recall and on which it wishes to build its image and reputation.

      You have just concluded the celebrations for the...

    • Science as a Place of Dialogue, the Meeting between Man and Nature and Potentially Even between Man and His Creator
      (pp. 121-124)

      The history of science in the twentieth century is one of undoubted achievement and major advances. Unfortunately, the popular image of twentieth-century science is sometimes characterized otherwise, in two extreme ways. On the one hand, science is posited by some as a panacea, proven by its notable achievements in the last century. Its innumerable advances were in fact so encompassing and so rapid that they seemed to confirm the point of view that science might answer all the questions of man’s existence, and even of his highest aspirations. On the other hand, there are those who fear science and who...

    • Unlimited Speculation Has a Negative Impact on the Environment and on Man Himself
      (pp. 124-125)

      However, no less worrying are the phenomena linked to a financial system which, after the most acute phase of the crisis, has returned to the frenzied practice of drawing up credit contracts that often allow unlimited speculation. The phenomenon of harmful speculation occurs also in regard to staple food-stuffs, water, and land, ultimately further impoverishing those already living in borderline situations.

      Likewise, it is seen in the increase in the prices of basic energy resources, with the consequent search for alternative forms of energy prompted, on occasion, by exclusively short-term financial interests, which can result in a negative impact on...

    • Ecology of Man, Ecology of the Environment
      (pp. 125-133)

      But the invitation to give this address was extended to me as pope, as the bishop of Rome, who bears the highest responsibility for Catholic Christianity. In issuing this invitation you are acknowledging the role that the Holy See plays as a partner within the community of peoples and states. Setting out from this international responsibility that I hold, I should like to propose to you some thoughts on the foundations of a free state of law.

      Allow me to begin my reflections on the foundations of law [Recht] with a brief story from sacred scripture. In the First Book...

    • The Church Must Encourage Governments to Protect the Fundamental Goods Which Are the Earth and Water
      (pp. 134-136)

      79. Together with the synod fathers, I ask all the members of the Church to work and speak out in favor of an economy that cares for the poor and is resolutely opposed to an unjust order which, under the pretext of reducing poverty, has often helped to aggravate it.27God has given Africa important natural resources. Given the chronic poverty of its people, who suffer the effects of exploitation and embezzlement of funds both locally and abroad, the opulence of certain groups shocks the human conscience. Organized for the creation of wealth in their homelands, and not infrequently with the...


    • Nourishing the World’s Population with Respect for Biodiversity
      (pp. 139-141)

      This year, which marks the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the celebration of World Food Day reminds us that hunger and malnutrition unfortunately feature among the worst scandals that still affect the life of the human family. This makes the FAO’s action, under your direction, ever more urgent.

      The millions of people whose very lives are at risk because they lack the minimum basic food call for the attention of the international community, because it is the common duty of us all to care for our brothers and sisters.


    • Without Solidarity between Countries There Is a Risk of Impeding the Work of International Organizations Committed to Fighting Hunger and Malnutrition
      (pp. 141-144)

      The annual celebration of World Food Day, sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, is an opportunity to review the numerous activities of this organization, specifically with regard to its twofold aim: to provide adequate nutrition for our brothers and sisters throughout the world and to consider the obstacles to this work caused by difficult situations and attitudes contrary to solidarity.

      This year’s chosen theme—“Investing in Agriculture for Food Security”—focuses our attention on the agricultural sector and invites us to reflect on the various factors that hinder the fight against hunger, many of them...

    • A New Europe Free from the Unique Form of “Apostasy” from Itself
      (pp. 145-148)

      Since March 1957, this continent has travelled a long road, which has led to the reconciliation of its two “lungs”—the East and the West—linked by a common history, but arbitrarily separated by a curtain of injustice. Economic integration has stimulated political unification and encouraged the continuing and strenuous search for an institutional structure adequate for a European Union that already numbers twenty-seven nations and aspires to become a global actor on the world scene.

      During these years there has emerged an increasing awareness of the need to establish a healthy balance between the economic and social dimensions, through...

    • When the Logic of Sharing and Solidarity Prevails It Is Possible to Direct the Course toward an Equitable and Sustainable Development
      (pp. 149-150)

      During the solemn Eucharistic celebration, by commenting on the liturgical texts, I was able to pause and reflect on the correct use of earthly goods, a theme the Evangelist Luke proposes for our attention this Sunday in various ways.

      Telling the parable of the dishonest but very crafty administrator, Christ teaches his disciples the best way to use money and material riches, that is, to share them with the poor, thus acquiring their friendship, with a view to the Kingdom of Heaven. “Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon,” Jesus says, “so that when it fails they may...

    • The Right to Food
      (pp. 150-153)

      1. This year the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, which you direct, invites the international community, remembering once again its foundation, to tackle one of the gravest challenges of our time: freeing millions of human beings from hunger, whose lives are in danger due to a lack of daily bread.

      The theme chosen for this day, “The Right to Food,” fittingly opens the reflections that the international community is preparing to make on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This coincidence helps us to recall the importance that the right to food has...

    • Justly Administering the Fruits of Creation
      (pp. 154-157)

      Yet, how can one remain insensitive to the appeals of those who, on the various continents, are not able to feed themselves enough to live? Poverty and malnutrition are not a mere fatality caused by adverse environmental circumstances or by disastrous natural calamities. On the other hand, considerations of an exclusively technical or economic character must not prevail over the rights of justice toward those who suffer from hunger. “The right to nutrition responds principally to an ethical motivation: ‘give the hungry to eat’ (cf. Mt 25:35), that prompts a sharing of material goods as a sign of the love...

    • Selfishness and Speculation as Obstacles to the Fight against Hunger
      (pp. 157-160)

      The theme chosen this year for Word Food Day, “World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy,” permits a reflection on what has been achieved in the fight against hunger and on the obstacles to the action of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in the face of new challenges that threaten the life of the human family.

      This day is being celebrated at a particularly difficult time for the world nutritional situation, when the availability of foods seems inadequate in relation to consumption, and climate change contributes to endangering the survival of millions of...

    • Fighting Poverty to Build Peace
      (pp. 160-174)

      1. Once again, as the new year begins, I want to extend good wishes for peace to people everywhere. With this message I would like to propose a reflection on the theme: “Fighting Poverty to Build Peace.” Back in 1993, my venerable predecessor Pope John Paul II, in his Message for the World Day of Peace that year, drew attention to the negative repercussions for peace when entire populations live in poverty. Poverty is often a contributory factor or a compounding element in conflicts, including armed ones. In turn, these conflicts fuel further tragic situations of poverty. “Our world,” he wrote,...

    • An Equitable Access to the Earth’s Resources Should Be Guaranteed to Everyone
      (pp. 174-177)

      I am pleased to have this opportunity to meet all of you at the conclusion of the celebrations marking the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of the International Fund for Agricultural Development. I thank the outgoing president, Mr. Lennart Båge, for his kind words and I offer congratulations and good wishes to Mr. Kanayo Nwanze on his election to this high office. I thank all of you for coming here today and I assure you of my prayers for the important work that you do to promote rural development. Your work is particularly crucial at the present time in view...

    • Integral Human Development in Charity and in Truth
      (pp. 177-189)

      27. Life in many poor countries is still extremely insecure as a consequence of food shortages, and the situation could become worse:hungerstill reaps enormous numbers of victims among those who, like Lazarus, are not permitted to take their place at the rich man’s table, contrary to the hopes expressed by Paul VI.30Feed the hungry(cf. Mt 25:35, 37, 42) is an ethical imperative for the universal Church, as she responds to the teachings of her Founder, the Lord Jesus, concerning solidarity and the sharing of goods. Moreover, the elimination of world hunger has also, in the global era, become...

    • An Integral Human Development to Give Voice to Every Nation
      (pp. 189-195)

      With a view to the upcoming G8, the group of the heads of state and government of the most industrialized countries, that will be taking place in L’Aquila from 8 to 10 July under the Italian presidency, I am pleased to send a cordial greeting to you and to all the participants. I therefore willingly take the opportunity to make a contribution to the reflection on the meeting’s themes, as I have done in the past. I was informed by my collaborators of the commitment with which the government, over which you have the honor to preside, is preparing for...

    • More Agricultural Investments in Poor Countries
      (pp. 195-197)

      If the celebration of World Food Day recalls the foundation of the FAO and its action in the fight against hunger and malnutrition in the world, it stresses above all the urgent need for interventions on behalf of all who are without daily bread, in so many countries, because of inadequate food security.

      The actual crisis that is hitting all sectors of the economy without distinction is particularly harshly affecting the world of farming, whose situation is becoming dramatic. This crisis demands that governments and the different elements of the international community make decisive and effective decisions.

      To guarantee people...

    • For Development to Be Sustainable It Is Necessary to Aim at a Balance between Farming, Industry, and Services
      (pp. 197-199)

      In the Second Reading of today’s liturgy, the Apostle Paul underlines the importance of work for the life of man. We are reminded of this idea on Thanksgiving Day, which is traditionally celebrated in Italy on this second Sunday in November, as the offering of thanks to God at the end of the harvest season. Although in other geographical areas farming periods naturally differ, today I would like to draw inspiration from St. Paul’s words to reflect on agricultural work in particular.

      The full gravity of the current economic crisis, discussed these past few days at the G20 summit, should...

    • The Farmer as a Model of a Mentality That Unites Faith and Reason
      (pp. 199-200)

      Advent calls us to develop inner tenacity, resistance of the spirit, which enables us not to despair while waiting for a good that is slow in coming, but on the contrary to prepare for its coming with active trust.

      “Behold,” James writes, “the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (Jas 5:7–8).

      The comparison drawn with the farmer is very expressive; he has sown the field and has...

    • Adequate Food Concerns the Fundamental Right to Life
      (pp. 200-205)

      1. I am particularly glad to welcome you who are attending the thirty-seventh conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. You are perpetuating a long and happy tradition, inaugurated sixty years ago at the time the FAO was established in Rome.

      Mr. President, through you I would like to thank the many government delegations that have wished to be present at this meeting, thereby witnessing to the effective universality of the FAO. I would also like to renew the Holy See’s support for the organization’s praiseworthy and indispensable work and to confirm that the Catholic Church is...

    • Agricultural Work as an Objective Strategy of Growth and Integral Development
      (pp. 205-210)

      1. While the annual celebration of World Food Day wishes to commemorate the foundation of the FAO and its commitment to agricultural development to combat hunger and malnutrition, it is also an opportunity to emphasize the plight of so many of our brothers and sisters who lack daily bread.

      The painful images of the numerous victims of hunger in the Horn of Africa impress us, as every day another chapter is added to what is one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in recent decades. Immediate aid is of course essential in the face of the death from starvation of entire communities...

    (pp. 211-212)
    (pp. 213-218)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 219-219)