Pope urges respect for environment

Jan. 2, 2010 at 1:50 PM

VATICAN CITY, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI used his New Year's Day address to appeal for peace and the protection of the natural environment.

Speaking Friday while celebrating Mass at the Vatican, Benedict asserted for there to be peace among people, mankind must "protect creation. The quest for peace by people of good will surely would become easier if all acknowledge the indivisible relationship between God, human beings and the whole of creation."

The Roman Catholic spiritual leader's message was titled "If You Want Peace, Respect Creation." In it, he urged Catholics to consider the consequences of environmental pollution.

"It is becoming more and more evident," he said, "that the issue of environmental degradation challenges us to examine our lifestyle and the prevailing models of consumption and production, which are often unsustainable from a social, environmental and even economic point of view."

In the New Year's homily, which serves a companion the the pope's Christmas "Urbi et Orbi" address, Benedict asked rhetorically, "Can we remain impassive in the face of actual and potential conflicts involving access to natural resources?"

He then answered by saying, "All these are issues with a profound impact on the exercise of human rights, such as the right to life, food, health and development."

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