Pope Francis says ‘contemplation,’ ‘compassion’ indispensable for integral ecology

Pope Francis has stressed the need for “contemplation” and “compassion” to help achieve integral ecology.

In an address before 250 representatives of Laudato si’ communities, the pontiff emphasized the need for integral ecology “because we are all creatures and everything in creation is related.”

“Even the pandemic has demonstrated this: The health of humanity cannot be separated from that of the environment in which we live,” he said Sept. 12.

The pope said climate change not only upsets the balance of nature but also causes poverty and hunger and affects the most vulnerable.

“The neglect of creation and social injustices influence each other,” said Pope Francis, adding that “there is no ecology without equality and there is no equality without ecology.”

The pontiff lamented that people these days have become dependent on immediate profit and results and neglect nature.

He said that distracted and sick with consumerism, people eagerly await the latest phone app, while forests are burned.

The pontiff said many don’t even know the names of their neighbors and cannot distinguish one tree from another.

He urged the faithful to stop, find silence and return to contemplation.

The pope said people need to free themselves from the imprisonment of the cell phone to look into the eyes of others and of creation.

He said the fruit of contemplation is compassion and when people become compassionate they see with the eyes of God and regard others as brothers and sisters of a single family.

“[God’s] compassion is the opposite of our indifference,” he said. “Our compassion is the best vaccine against the epidemic of indifference,” added the pontiff.

“Those who have compassion go from ‘I don’t care about you’ to ‘You are important to me.’”

The pope said the world needs “creative and active charity from people who do not stay in front of a screen making comments, but who are willing to get their hands dirty to remove degradation and restore dignity.”

He said having compassion is “choosing not to have any enemies” but to “see everyone as a neighbor.”

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