Care and stewardship of Creation
Catholic Rural Life
As people of faith, we are convinced that “the earth is the Lord’s and all it holds” (Ps 24:1). Our Creator has given us the gift of creation: the air we breathe, the water that sustains life, the fruits of the land that nourish us, and the entire web of life without which human life cannot flourish. All of this God created and found “very good.”
We believe our actions towards the environment and natural resources should be a sign of our respect for God’s creation. We are called to “renew the face of the earth” (Ps:104:30) and seek out those practices that sustain life for all.
In his 2010 World Day of Peace message, Pope Benedict XVI expressed the integral link between our social and natural world: “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation.” There he stated: “Man’s inhumanity to man has given rise to numerous threats to peace and authentic and integral human development… Yet no less troubling are the threats arising from neglect – if not downright misuse – of the earth and the natural goods God has given us. ... It is imperative that mankind renew and strengthen that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God.”
How can rural America, and people close to the land everywhere, demonstrate this blessed covenant between ourselves and the earth? We believe this can be notably expressed through the attitudes of gratitude, generosity, and stewardship of the land.
These three virtues should pervade our relationship to the land. We ask farmers, scientists, researchers, priests and bishops, men and woman religious, and many others working together to determine the best paths forward. We look with hope to renewing the face of the earth.