“Environmental Pope” on the Way to Sainthood


Pope John Paul II spoke so often about the environment, and also engaged himself personally as a canoer and skier, that he was considered by some as the environmental Pope. Yesterday was his celebrated Beatification, setting him close to the path of sainthood. With John Paul II, the Catholic approach to the environment which he began to articulate, and which is continued by Pope Benedict XVI, also is confirmed, affirmed and elevated.

This is special to me, as I write from St. Malo Retreat Center, a special place in the USA for JP II’s environmental legacy, since here he came specifcially to spend time in the mountains, breathe some fresh air, go for a walk and read poetry by a stream. JP II’s legacy also extends this legacy to the places he walked, preached and prayed. St. Malo is blessed for it.

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2 thoughts on ““Environmental Pope” on the Way to Sainthood

  1. As the “ecological” Pope, John Paul II made many addresses on the environment and our response to creation and his words can provide us with inspiration. His message of stewardship can be summarized in his quote:

    “It is the duty of Christians and all who look to God the Creator to protect the environment by restoring a sense of reverence for the whole of God’s creation. It is the Creator’s will that man should treat nature not as ruthless exploiter but as an intelligent and responsible administrator.”

    But, perhaps more importantly, John Paul II saw the environment as another avenue for his call to a “new evangelization”. The following quote by John Paul II illustrates this:

    “The first stage of divine Revelation is the marvelous “book of nature”; which when read can lead to knowledge of God the Creator. Nature, therefore becomes a Gospel that speaks to us of God.”

    The late Father Richard Neuhaus made a comment about John Paul II that we should start calling him “John Paul II-The Great”. I concur.

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