A top Vatican official has urged young people to protect the planet and actively live the teachings of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment. Source: NCR Online.
Expressing concern for the accelerating degradation of the Earth, Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, told 3,000 Ghanaians on Sunday to learn, know and spread the message of the 2015 papal teaching.
Cardinal Turkson returned to his native Ghana for the country’s fourth local observance of World Youth Day. The event allowed young people unable to travel to the Church’s global World Youth Day in January in Panama to gather in their homeland for a celebration.
Emphasising that the Earth is like a mother to humans, Cardinal Turkson called for deeper respect and more concrete steps to protect the planet during the event’s closing ceremony. He also appealed for greater attention to the needs of poor and disadvantaged people.
The cardinal also addressed the importance of the need to change lifestyles to reduce environmental abuse. He noted that Pope Francis acknowledges that environmental awareness is growing as the world better understands the impact of the damage being done to Earth and all life on the planet.
The Pope, he said, remains hopeful about the possibility of reversing the trend of environmental abuse as people adopt the encyclical’s teachings.
Cardinal Turkson explained to the young Ghanaians that the full title of the encyclical, Laudato Si' (On Care for Our Common Home) was inspired by the invocation of St Francis of Assisi, "Praise be to you my Lord," in his Canticle of the Creatures.
Climate change, Cardinal Turkson said, is a growing concern because it affects everyone and that the well-being of future generations is at stake.
To save the earth and environment from destruction, he called for an end to the felling of trees at current rates. He also advocated for the reintroduction of the Arbor Day celebration in Ghana and elsewhere to encourage the planting of trees.