The Original “Green Pope”: 8 Quotes from Benedict XVI on the Environment

The Papal Visit / Flickr

Pope Francis just released his encyclical on the environment titled Laudato Si. Its the first papal encyclical to be dedicated to care for the environment and so represents an important development of the Church’s teachings on the matter.

But its certainly not the first time the magisterium has addressed the issue. Most recently, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, a catechism dedicated to Catholic Social Teaching that was published under St. John Paul II in 2004, has a whole section on the topic. And Benedict XVI, Francis’ immediate predecessor, actually wrote and spoke about the environment so much during his eight year pontificate that he earned the nickname “the green Pope“!

[See also: 26 Key Quotes from Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment, Laudato Si]

[See also: 13 Powerful Pope Francis Quotes Defending Marriage and the Family]

Here are 8 of the best quotes from Benedict XVI on the importance of caring for God’s creation:

1) “We are all responsible for the protection and care of the environment. This responsibility knows no boundaries. In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity it is important for everyone to be committed at his or her proper level, working to overcome the prevalence of particular interests.”

Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2010

2) “Preservation of the environment, promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are matters of grave concern for the entire human family.”

Letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople on the Occasion of the Seventh Symposium of the Religion, Science and the Environment Movement, September 1, 2007

3) “When making use of natural resources, we should be concerned for their protection and consider the cost entailed – environmentally and socially – as an essential part of the overall expenses incurred.”

Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2010

4) “My dear friends, God’s creation is one and it is good. The concerns for nonviolence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity. They cannot, however, be understood apart from a profound reflection on the innate dignity of every human life from conception to natural death: a dignity conferred by God himself and thus inviolable.”

Address, Welcoming Celebration by Young People for World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, July 17, 2008

5) “The ecological crisis offers a historic opportunity to develop a common plan of action aimed at orienting the model of global development toward greater respect for creation and for an integral human development inspired by the values proper to charity in truth.”

Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2010

6) “The world is not something indifferent, raw material to be utilized simply as we see fit. Rather, it is part of God’s good plan, in which all of us are called to be sons and daughters in the one Son of God, Jesus Christ (cf. Eph 1:4-12).”

Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, February 22, 2007

7) “The order of creation demands that a priority be given to those human activities that do not cause irreversible damage to nature, but which instead are woven into the social, cultural, and religious fabric of the different communities. In this way, a sober balance is achieved between consumption and the sustainability of resources.”

Message to the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization for the Celebration of World Food Day, October 16, 2006.

8) “The relationship between individuals or communities and the environment ultimately stems from their relationship with God. When ‘man turns his back on the Creator’s plan, he provokes a disorder which has inevitable repercussions on the rest of the created order.”

Letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople on the Occasion of the Seventh Symposium of the Religion, Science and the Environment Movement, September 1, 2007