Pope focuses on environment in New Year peace message

Pope Benedict XVI championed the environment in his annual World Day of Peace message on Friday.

In his address, entitled: 'If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation,' the Holy Father said peace with the natural environment was the beginning of peace with all of God's creation.

"Respect for creation is of immense consequence, not least because creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God's works, and its preservation has now become essential for the pacific coexistence of mankind," he said.

"Can we remain impassive in the face of actual and potential conflicts involving access to natural resources?" the Pope asked. "All these are issues with a profound impact on the exercise of human rights, such as the right to life, food, health and development."

"Technologically advanced societies must be prepared to encourage more sober lifestyles, while reducing their energy consumption and improving its efficiency," while preparing "sustainable strategies to satisfy the energy needs of the present and future generations," he said.

Pope Benedict XVI challenged the faithful to be good stewards of what "God has given us," suggesting that peace with the Earth will lead to peace on Earth.

"For this reason, it is imperative that mankind renew and strengthen that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from whom we come and toward whom we are journeying," he said.

To read the full message see: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/peace/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20091208_xliii-world-day-peace_en.html

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