Pope Benedict has spoken of the harm cause to creation by man's selfish behaviour. In a message to Archbishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha of Mariana, president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, for their Lenten Fraternity Campaign, the Holy Father writes: "The theme of the 2011 campaign is: 'Fraternity and life on the planet', and its motto is: "the creation groans with labour pains. This is an echo of the words used by St Paul in his Letter to the Romans. One of the reasons for these groans is the damage caused to creation by human selfishness."
Pope Benedict said: "the first step towards a correct relationship with the world around us is the recognition by humans of their status as created beings. Man is not God; he is His image. For this reason he must seek to be more sensitive to the presence of God in his surroundings. In all creatures, and especially in human beings, there is an epiphany, or manifestation, of God".
"The human being will be capable of respecting other creatures only if he keeps the full meaning of life in his own heart. Otherwise he will come to despise himself and his surroundings, and to disrespect the environment, the creation, in which he lives. For this reason, the first ecology to be defended is 'human ecology'.
This is to say that, without a clear defence of human life from conception until natural death; without a defence of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman; without an authentic defence of those excluded and marginalised by society, not overlooking, in this context, those who have lost everything in natural calamities, we will never be able to speak of authentic protection of the environment".