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Full Version: Pope says care of creation now a 'work of mercy': Spiritual or Corporal?
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It seems this present Vatican is not so much about the care of souls any more???  Oh, sustainability and (illegal) immigration and those things as well as a departure from many of the age old teachings of the Church which are, of course, the teachings of Christ.  I hardly recognize this version of 'church'.
So if you pick up litter is that now meritorious for heaven????

(Vatican Radio) To mark the September 1st day of prayer for creation, Pope Francis has added a new work of mercy for Catholics to perform: caring for our common home, the planet and all its inhabitants.

At a press conference on Thursday morning, Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the new Vatican office for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Bishop Brian Farrell from the Council for Christian Unity, introduced the Pope’s message for this annual observance, together with Irish author Terence Ward...

‘It’s not every day that you have a new work of mercy in the Catholic Church!’ That was how the new director of the Vatican press office, American Greg Burke introduced the briefing, focused on the papal message entitled ‘Show Mercy to our Common Home’.

Since biblical times, Christians have been called to carry out 6 acts of mercy, listed in St Matthew’s Gospel – giving food and drink to the hungry and thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and the prisoners – with a 7th one, burying the dead, added in medieval times.

Now the new papal message adds an eighth one to that list and, as Terence Ward, author of ‘The Guardian of Mercy’ pointed out, it could be seen as the most significant of them all…

“Caring for our Common Home. Groundbreaking and visionary, ecumenical and ecological. One could argue that this is the highest work of mercy because it includes all the others, a modern work of mercy for our modern epoch.”

As Bishop Brian Farrell explained, it’s an issue around which there is broad ecumenical agreement throughout the Christian world, with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and other Orthodox leaders pioneering many groundbreaking initiatives to raise awareness about critical ecological concerns.

But what exactly does this first every papal message for the day of prayer for creation call for? Not surprisingly, mercy is the key to unlocking that ‘ecological conversion’ of our hearts that Pope John Paul first called for a quarter of a century ago.  As Cardinal Turkson explained, it’s a step by step process which begins by recognizing the harm we have already done through our selfish, irresponsible and greedy behavior..

“The first step in this process is to humbly acknowledge the harm we are doing to the earth through pollution, the scandalous destruction of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity, and the spectre of climate change—which seems nearer and more dangerous with each passing year. And to realize that when we hurt the earth, we also hurt the poor, whom God loves without limit”

After acknowledging the harm done and confessing our sins, we are then called to change our lives, beginning with the small changes that can lower our own carbon footprint, while also advocating for an economic and political system that is just and sustainable, rather than focused on short term financial and electoral gains.

Much of the Pope’s appeal to all people of good will was already spelt out a year ago in his groundbreaking encyclical Laudato Si’ but, as Cardinal Turkson asked at the end of the briefing, how many of us are ready and willing to respond to the challenges that document contained?

“It should not be a document to be read, but […] a document with practical implications that we should all try to implement and to practice”.

I'll post the relevant portion of the message below, but basically he says it is involved in both the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.  The thing is, care of creation is such a broad thing--it literally involves everything men do that involves created things--that calling it a work of mercy doesn't make a lot of sense to me, except in as much as acts of mercy commonly involve the prudent use of creation.  Other than that, it's mostly a matter of justice, not mercy, which is why the CCC classifies it under the Seventh Commandment:

CCC Wrote:Respect for the integrity of creation

2415 The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity.195 Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.196

Anyway, here is the relevant portion of the message from Pope Francis:

Pope Francis, Message for World Day of Prayer for Creation Wrote:“Nothing unites us to God more than an act of mercy, for it is by mercy that the Lord forgives our sins and gives us the grace to practise acts of mercy in his name.”[8]

To paraphrase Saint James, “we can say that mercy without works is dead … In our rapidly changing and increasingly globalized world, many new forms of poverty are appearing. In response to them, we need to be creative in developing new and practical forms of charitable outreach as concrete expressions of the way of mercy.”[9]

The Christian life involves the practice of the traditional seven corporal and seven spiritual works of mercy.[10] “We usually think of the works of mercy individually and in relation to a specific initiative: hospitals for the sick, soup kitchens for the hungry, shelters for the homeless, schools for those to be educated, the confessional and spiritual direction for those needing counsel and forgiveness… But if we look at the works of mercy as a whole, we see that the object of mercy is human life itself and everything it embraces.”[11]

Obviously “human life itself and everything it embraces” includes care for our common home. So let me propose a complement to the two traditional sets of seven: may the works of mercy also include care for our common home.

As a spiritual work of mercy, care for our common home calls for a “grateful contemplation of God’s world” (Laudato Si, 214) which “allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us” (ibid., 85). As a corporal work of mercy, care for our common home requires “simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness” and “makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world” (ibid., 230-31).

This is one of those things, IMO, that while not false, is at best a meaningless platitude that garners some human respect from some quarters, but usually causes faithful people unneeded confusion or distress  by unnecessarily disturbing--or suggesting a disturbance to--traditions (in this case, the formulation of the works of mercy).
Care for the environment is a corporeal work of mercy. when we care for the environment we make the world a better place for everybody. For example if you live upstream and you make sure that the water that flows through is clean then the people who live downstream will also hve clean water to drink.
:) :) :)