“We can no longer turn our backs on reality, on our brothers and sisters, on mother earth,” he declared at a talk, at the Pontifical Catholic University, in Quito.
“It is wrong to turn aside from what is happening all around us, as if certain situations did not exist or have nothing to do with our life,” he added.
While beginning his address, the pope touched upon a parable about a sower, read out during the ceremony and emphasized, ever since the time of Genesis, God has quietly urged people to “cultivate and care for the earth.”
“We are not only invited to share in the work of creation and to cultivate it, but to make it grow and to develop it. We are also invited to care for it, to protect it, to be its guardians,” he explained.
This, he said, “is no longer a mere recommendation, but rather a requirement,” because of the harm we have inflicted on (the earth) by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed it.”
“We have come to see ourselves as her lord and master, entitled to plunder it at will,” he lamented.
Francis continued to read excerpts from his recent environmental encyclical letter “Laudato Si” to reiterate the point, “The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation.”