Archbishop Emmanuel WAMALA 
(Archbishop of Kampala, Uganda)  

The importance and urgency of environmental protection is to be discussed against the background of famine and poverty in Africa. 
Many people in Africa live on food either bought from or donated by other countries. Thanks to the World Food Programme for supporting us in famine and for feeding refugees in war-torn zones of Africa. There are also in our continent entire nations which could never feed themselves without recourse to donor nations. 

Moreover, while the economy of most African countries depends on agriculture, many traditional crops, that is coffee, cotton, cocoa, etc, have lost market. Diversification is advised, but new crops require good weather conditions, good soil, good rains, good environment. 
In the light of these considerations, the importance and urgency of environmental protection become clear. Knowingly or unknowingly all people have contributed to the deterioration of environment in Africa and in other continents. We need to attune ourselves to the cry of the earth to sensitise ourselves and our people. The integrity of creation is one of the known problems discussed today, and evangelisation cannot ignore it (cf. EN 31). 

Instrumentum Laboris n. 113 indicates a "necessary link between the mission to preach the Gospel and the promotion of the human person; for, salvation concerns the whole person, soul and body". 

Environmental protection is a necessary condition for that promotion. The present Holy Father, John Paul II has touched this subject in two of his recent encyclicals: Solicitudo Rei Socialis n. 34 and Centesimus Annus nn.37-38. Earlier in his Peace Day message of 1990 the Holy Father had treated this matter more fully (AAS 82, pp. 147-156). 
Now is the time to consider incorporating in our catechesis topics recalling manís responsibility to nature. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that manís lordship "demands a religious respect of the integrity of creation" (n, 2415). The mission God gave to man to "be masters" (Gen. 1,28) is not that of an arrogant, destructive master, but of one made "in Godís image and likeness", that God who, as the Book of Wisdom says, "Loves all his creatures" (Wis. 11,24-26). We need to take care of our environment both for our own generation and for the generation to come. In connection with future generation it is important to note that rapid population growth can contribute to environmental deterioration. The Catholic Church, while holding every human life dear and sacred, has nevertheless for decades believed in and taught responsible parenthood. This teaching and the acceptable methods need to be propagated both for the promotion of individual persons and families and for the protection of environment. 
  
Original text: English 

  

 

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