Pope Francis: If Christians Don’t Protect The Environment, They Don’t Care About God’s Creation

On Monday, Pope Francis argued that Christians should protect the environment, which is part of their identity and not about ideology.

Environmental concerns are a hot button in all corners of the world. Detractors and supporters of climate change and those passionate about protecting fragile marshes and jungles around the globe see things in a very different way.

As has become his custom, Pope Francis expressed his opinion and suggested that if Christians don’t preserve the environment, it would account for not caring about God’s work. The remarks were made during his homily at Sunday morning mass, when the Pontiff referred to environmentalists by another name.

“When we hear that people have meetings about how to preserve creation, we can say: ‘No, they are the greens! ‘No, they are not the greens! This is the Christian!’

“A Christian who does not protect creation, who does not let it grow, is a Christian who does not care about the work of God; that work that was born from the love of God for us and this is the first response to the first creation: protect creation, make it grow.”

This comes as no surprise to observers. Jorge Bergoglio chose to be named after St. Francis of Assisi — the patron saint of the environment — and has made this topic a central part of his Papacy since his election almost two years ago.

Pope Francis is working on an encyclical, which will be published during the first part of 2015 and focus on environmental issues. It has been a constant drum roll from the Argentinian Holy Father for governments and individuals to take steps to combat climate change, a phenomenon he attributes in part to human activity, the Huffington Post reports.

Additionally, during Monday mass at his residence in the Vatican guest quarters, Pope Francis focused on a reading from the book of Genesis, which relates how God created Earth, and Adam and Eve.

“In the ‘first creation,’ we must respond with the responsibility that the Lord gives us.”

“Even for us there is a responsibility to nurture the Earth, to nurture creation, to keep it and make it grow according to its laws. We are the lords of creation, not its masters.

Pope Francis’ environmental stance has created friction with conservatives within the Catholic Church, who complain the pope has a liberal agenda. These groups have also been angered by Francis’ comments on gay marriage and abortion, both of which have been traditionally opposed by the Church’s teachings.

[Image via Franco Origlia/Getty Images]