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Prayer and works for the care of Creation

· On the first World Day ·

“Today is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Let us work and pray”. This tweet was posted by Pope Francis on the @Pontifex account on Tuesday morning, 1 September. The Pontiff later presided at the Liturgy of the Word in the Vatican Basilica, during which the homily was given by Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, ofm, Cap., Preacher to the Papal Household. 

“Faith in a Creator God and that man is made in God’s image is not a threat”, Fr Cantalamessa said, “but rather a guarantee for creation, and indeed the strongest of all guarantees. It means that man is not absolute master of other creatures; he must account for what he has received. The parable of the talents has its primordial application here: the earth is the talent that we have all received and for which we are accountable.

According to the Preacher, “the idea of an idyllic relationship between man and the cosmos, outside of the Bible, is a literary invention. The prevailing opinion among pagan philosophers of the time, in the wake of Plato, tended to make the material world the product of a secondary god (the Deuteros Theos, or Demiurge), or even, as Marcion would say, the work of a bad god, not the God revealed by Jesus Christ. General yearning was to liberate oneself from matter, not to liberate the material. This was the vision that during the time of Francis of Assisi reemerged as the Cathar heresy”. Fr Cantalamessa continued, “man’s abuse of power over Creation is not a biblical concept”. After all, “the map of pollution does not at all coincide with that of the spread of the biblical religion or other religions, but rather coincides with the spread of wild industrialization, aimed solely at profit, and the spread of corruption which stands silent before objections and resists authority.

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