It is important remember in this day, what Pope Francis took in 2013 on the occasion of World Environment Day to slam the influence of money and profit in the “human ecology” making the connection between the issues of the environment and poverty.
It is important remember in this day, what Pope Francis took in 2013 on the occasion of World Environment Day to slam the influence of money and profit in the “human ecology” making the connection between the issues of the environment and poverty.
Yanamarey Glacier shows us the effect of the climate change on the glaciers around the world
Duarte Costa, specialist in Climate Change from Exeter University comments with us his impressions about the climate change problem in our world and the main challenges that this represent for the humankind, including church. Continue reading
The following is part of an article extracted from Communio 38:4 (winter 2011) 583 – 620 written by Mary Taylor and presented in the frame of the last WYD in Rio de Janeiro
PopeBenedict XVI, said during the World Youth Day held in Australia, “Reluctantly we come to acknowledge that there are scars which mark the surface of our earth: erosion, deforestation, the squandering of the world’s mineral and ocean resources in order to fuel an insatiable consumption.” Solet us start with an assertion: we are in the midst of an ecological crisis. Or, to mitigate the assertion: at the very least, many people perceive us to be in the midst of an ecological crisis, and even those who deny that there is any crisis at all must still deal with those who do – and that too can take the form of a crisis!
Thelitany of ills is long and readily visible and does not need to be repeated here; a vast field of ecology/environmental theorists and practitioners has risen up in response. One of the central concerns for these movements is sustainability, which seeks the assurance that nature’s resources will be continue to be available to us in the future. Its concomitant sisters are restoration – that which has been, in the Pope’s example, eroded, deforested, and squandered, should be regenerated – and conservation – “setting aside,” whether for genetic information to be used in the future cure of diseases, for scenic beauty, or other uses. While most people of good will agree on some form of these, there are different ways they can be approached.
Themanifestations of brokenness – both environmental degradation and disregard for life – are the result of actions that arise from free human choices; those choices may be economically or politically or even ethically motivated, but they have deeper roots. While there is not one single cause of those environmental crises (there are many proximate causes, some local, some not), ultimately questions about our relationships with others and with nature do not stand alone, but take their place within greater ontological and meta- anthropological dimensions, and must be faced by turning to those dimensions: what do we take to be real and who do we think that we are.
Arecent text claims that there are over 200 schools of thought in ecology today. We will consider them here under the rubric of “trajectories,” a word borrowed from Pope Benedict XVI; the word is chosen specifically because they encompass not – or not only – theories, but ways of thinking, of being, of acting, of living. It is always perilous to generalize, but the term is not meant to be totalizing metanarrative, a rigid taxonomy, a way to “control and colonize” ecological thinking, or a way to deny the complexity, variety, and distinctions within each trajectory. Instead, the term is meant simply to point to, as Wittgenstein would put it, family resemblances.
Achemical company remediates a polluted site by digging up the contaminated earth andcarting it away. A paper-and-pulp company plants a tree for every tree cut down. A nonprofit gets a scenic area set aside as a wilderness preserve. Any environmental project which seeks to conserve, restore, recycle, or otherwise manage natural resources when those resources are seen onlyin terms of their utility, and where sustainability is understood as nothing more than “utility extended into the future,” falls under the First Trajectory – the “instrumental rationalism of resource managerialism.”
Sustainabilityindicators – complex quantitative tools combining various indices and metrics– have been developed to highly sophisticated levels. Rightly ordered, they may be useful tools within the other trajectories, but here their defining feature is a reductive mode of thinking based on an antecedent calculative utilitarianism in which all factors are stripped down to the measurable for a single goal: “environmental policies are designed to maximize human satisfaction or minimize human harms.”
The First Trajectory’s antecedents are found in modernity’s dualism between the person and the world; the human is the subject and nature is the object, to be known by a form of science seen as the final arbiter in all human endeavors.
TheSecond Trajectory is the home of all projects which focus on nature as a holistic system that needs to be sustained for its own sake and not simply for human utility and efficiency. The idea is not to save nature for humans, but to save it by “letting be.” The same issues of sustainability, restoration, etc. may be considered, but they must be extended to living creatures and to the land. Second Trajectory ecological thought arose positively with the awareness of the delight to be taken in the natural world that was missing from positivism. It invokes, often in expressions of great beauty, the wonder at the heart of our relation with the earth. Philosophically, the Second Trajectory is part of postmodernity’s attack on the presuppositionsof the Enlightenment, including its assessment of the subject/object distinction in epistemology and mind/body, self/nature dualism (eco-phenomenology has been very influential here), and the overemphasis on reduction, mechanization, and quantification, derived from physics and extended to other fields.
TheSecond Trajectory’s holism is a philosophy of identity, in which, Benedict XVI has said, “the person is not an ultimate reality…[since] the person, the contrast between the I and the Thou, belongs to the sphere of distinctions;” instead, the boundaries between persons, and between persons and the natural world, “are absorbed, are revealed as provisional.”True solidarity based on respect is impossible not only with humans but with nonhuman entities if each living thing is nothing but “a dissipative structure, that …does not endure in and of itself butonly as a result of the continual flow in the system.”
A few years ago, a young consecrated layman, Ricardo Simmonds (a member of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae and the founder of “Creatio,” a Catholic nonprofit that seeks reconciliation between persons and creation as a response to environmental problems) was given the project of creating a small park out of a garbage dump in a South American shantytown. If it had been a First Trajectory project, the initial step might have been an economic feasibility study, followed by hiring a planning/redevelopment consultant, then seeking out landscape designers, waste management engineers, and other technical help. A Second Trajectory project might have begun with an environmental impact assessment and a stakeholder charrette. Instead, Simmonds put a large statue of the Virgin Mary in the middle of the dump. First the mothers came to pray and plant flowers, carving out natural walkways; the children came to play; the fathers came and began hauling the garbage away; then others from both the shantytown and the city saw something beautiful happening that they wanted to be a part of, and volunteered their services, time, and money. This might seem like an isolated, irrelevant, or marginal event, and clearly a religious statue reflects a very specific milieu, but large-scale environmental projects have been carried out in a similar way: by reversing the standard order of starting with technical fixes and economic costs, which often lead to various social or political conflicts, and instead beginning with the common call to meet our deepest shared needs for meaning, beauty, mystery, and friendship. The other steps are not eliminated but are rightly ordered under what is most important.
We can see the above as an illustration of what Benedict XVI called a “new trajectory” in action:
A new trajectory of thinking is needed in order to arrive at a better understanding of the implications of our being one family; interaction among the peoples of the world calls us to embark upon this new trajectory, so that integration can signify solidarity rather than marginalization.
The name “Third Trajectory” gives the impression that it is another possible path to be set alongside the other two. But it is not simply another, ultimately indifferent choice, or a response to the others; it remembers and integrates what is good in them, while at the same transcending them. This Trajectory really is new because its very grammar begins from a qualitatively different launching point, so that the ensuing alternative arc of its flight traces a solidarity that can embrace, heal, and bring to fruition all that is good in the earlier trajectories. This trajectory, to borrow from David L. Schindler, is able “to integrate the achievements of modernity, while at the same time moving us truly beyond modernity.”
Benedict XVI sees both the extrinsic, functional relationality of the First Trajectory and the interrelatedness of the Second Trajectory, whether due to biology or choice, as inadequate: “Thinking of this kind requires a deeper critical evaluation of the category of relation.” This task, he continues, “cannot be undertaken by the social sciences alone, insofar as the contribution of disciplines such as metaphysics and theology is needed if man’s transcendent dignity is to be properly understood.” So we begin by turning from projects to principles.
In ecological thinking, the Third Trajectory is only now coming into being, awakened by the growing awareness that the first two trajectories are not sufficient. Operating through dualism, monism, or a dialectic of ambiguity, is too limiting. The suggestion is not to reject instrumental reason, interconnection, or dialectic; nor is it to turn one’s back on sustainability, restoration, or conservation. Sustainability, for example, involves more than insuring that we can continue consuming into the future. Though our natural resources are limited and finite, we have a need for meaning that transcends the material; only the infinite will suffice. Solidarity, which requires the participation of everyone involved, concerns more than merely overlapping interests and diverse perspectives; it involves a reversal.
The Third Trajectory does not necessarily promote any specific ecological practices. It draws on every other level and every other ecological method and strategy, not as something extra or added on, but as that which radiates the light by which the others are seen. Something Benedict XVI said about the Church finds an analogous echo in the Third Trajectory: “The Church does not have technical solutions to offer,” but rather points to the truth of human persons and their dignity and vocation, for “without truth, it is easy to fall into an empiricist and skeptical view of life, incapable of rising to the level of praxis because of a lack of interest in grasping the values — sometimes even the meanings — with which to judge and direct it.”
Seeing the whole of creation as an analogical, participatory, personalist gift within which we are in communion with all other beings illuminates the experience of wonder and gratitude for the natural world; provides for genuine hope for the future; and opens the door to a solidarity that is relational in the deepest sense, one which transcends the anthropocentric/ biocentric divide and whose end, to borrow from Martin Luther King, “is reconciliation… redemption…[and] the creation of the beloved community.”
Strarford and Sophie Caldecott present us a resume of their lecture presented in the frame of WYD held in Rio de Janeiro on July, 2013. This beautiful document have special relevance in the context of the next encyclical about Ecology that our Pope is writing.
Through the pontificates of John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis, ecology has become an important part of Catholic social teaching. In 2011, Pope Benedict said, “The importance of ecology is no longer disputed. We must listen to the language of nature and we must answer accordingly.” In his inaugural Mass, Pope Francis asked us to become “’protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” We have been reminded over and over again that, as Pope Francis also said in a Tweet on 5 June: “Care of creation is not just something God spoke of at the dawn of history: he entrusts it to each of us as part of his plan.”
Many scientist have dedicated their life to trying to save as much as they can, but many of them do it without the support that our faith gives us. They are defending God’s creation without even knowing who God is – just because they know it is the right thing to do. Not only are they defending the beauty of nature, but also they are trying to help preserve human life on earth, which depends on the survival of the “ecosystem”. As Catholics, we have even more reason to get involved in this issue. Our Christian faith tells us that this responsibility is part of what we were created for. The Book of Genesis (2:15) tells us “God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.”
Like response to the mentioned before, we need a humanistic ecological vision that takes account of the special nature of human beings, as well as the ecosystem in which we belong. This vision, as Pope Benedict said, should take in “not only the environment but also life, sexuality, marriage, the family, social relations”; that is, our “duties towards the human person” (Caritas in Veritate, 51). For all these things are part of what we mean by the nature of human beings. We are social by nature. We are born into families. We find meaning in our lives through loving and serving others. We have a dignity that can be expressed in the form of rights and duties.
Pope Benedict taught us that Christianity tries to balance the value of the human person with the value of nature as God’s creation. The Book of Genesis – as well as the Psalms and many other parts of the Bible, which praise the glories of nature – teach Christians to be responsible and gentle and wise in the way we behave towards the world around us. The virtue of Prudence instructs us to take special care to preserve the natural resources on which our lives and those of our children depend. The other three “cardinal virtues” that are part of the Christian life are just as relevant. Temperance tells us that we must not become greedy, addicted to consumption, living a lifestyle that depends on having more and more. The virtue of Justice reminds us that many of us in the richer countries of the world support our lifestyle at the expense of the poorer countries. And we need the virtue of Fortitude or Courage to strengthen us for what we have to do – to find ways to change the way we live, to be kinder to the earth, fairer to our fellow human beings, and merciful towards the animals and plants that God has created out of his love and wisdom.
Pope Francis recently condemned our culture’s unrestrained greed, saying: “Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules. God our Father did not give the task of caring for the earth to money, but to us, to men and women: we have this task! Instead, men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the ‘culture of waste.’”
As young people we are consumers of clothing, and most of us would agree we should try to make sure we are not supporting unfair businesses, or buying things whose negative impact on the environment is hidden from view. If we are running a business, it is easy to say that we must not exploit our workers unfairly, or use immoral or illegal business practices to destroy competitors. That’s easy to say, sometimes less easy to do, in a fiercely competitive economy. We need ethical consumer organizations and corporate whistleblowers to help us. One thing we mustn’t do is assume that what we buy, what we wear, what we eat, is somehow unconnected with what I was saying earlier about the planet. If there is one thing ecology has taught us, it is that everything is connected.
In his speech to the German Bundestag in September 2011 called “The Listening Heart”, Pope Benedict said this: “We must listen to the language of nature and we must answer accordingly. Yet I would like to underline a point that seems to me to be neglected, today as in the past: there is also an ecology of man. Man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will. Man is not merely self-creating freedom. Man does not create himself.”
The Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II is all about what we find when we understand our own nature as created by God. The Pope talks about the “spousal” or “nuptial” meaning of the body, about the fact that we were made for love, and that there is a “way of living the body” in its authentic masculinity and femininity. This nuptial meaning has been limited, violated and deformed over time and by modern culture, until we have almost lost the power of seeing it, but it is still there to be discovered with the help of grace, like a spark deep within the human heart. The “language of the body” is part of that “language of nature” that Pope Benedict speaks of. The way we live, the clothes we buy and wear, the work we do, the way we treat each other, and, yes, the way we treat animals and the whole of nature, should reflect our understanding of that language – the fact that we are put here not to destroy and exploit but to love and cooperate.
In our families, and with our children when they come, we must draw on the love that opens our eyes to reality, as Pope Francis says in his encyclical Lumen Fidei (2013): “Faith knows because it is tied to love, because love itself brings enlightenment. Faith’s understanding is born when we receive the immense love of God which transforms us inwardly and enables us to see reality with new eyes” (n. 26). In turn, by revealing the love of God the Creator, faith “enables us to respect nature all the more, and to discern in it a grammar written by the hand of God and a dwelling place entrusted to our protection and care. Faith also helps us to devise models of development which are based not simply on utility and profit, but consider creation as a gift for which we are all indebted” (n. 55).
Yesterday ,we celebrated the World Water Day , wáter is a natural resource which is very important to conserve life on the planet. Do not forget that ¾ of the Earth is water , that 75 % of all living things is water. So how could we live without water? A human can survive almost about 30 days without food but only 3 days without water . In the world there are many people who must travel km to get water and even many die for lack of access to potable water.
Water, needs to be maintained to ensure life on the planet, this is part of our responsibility as global citizens . Like St. Francis of Assisi said. ” Praised be You, my Lord , through Sister Water , which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste ” in this way St. Francis teaches us to look after this humble and pure water.
Sunday ‘s Gospel ( Jn 4: 5-42 ) introduces us to Jesus asking for water to the Samaritan woman, who was very busy to give Jesus to drink. But, Jesus tell her and tell us that He has wáter that if is taken we never will be thirsty because this water comes from God.
Sed de Dios, in spanish is like to belong to God , we must be thirsty of God and belong to god. But not only that, God also thirsts for us, asking us water as the Samaritan . The water in our faith , our love, our time for others , our prayers, our peace, and this is where we should be like the water of which St. Francis of Assisi : ” humble , precious and pure ” . What kind of water do we have to God?
With this small reading, we should remember the importance of water to our lives , how important it is to take care this important resource and always remember that God also is thirsty of us.
Tebaldo Vinciguerra present us a resume on main activities of Vatican to safeguarding Creation, like part of his participation in the Conference of Creation in the frame of the WYD 2013 held in Rio de Janeiro last July.
Since we, Catholics believe our Creator has mandated the whole human race to be stewards of creation, the Church has always promoted the respect for the environment. Guided by the wisdom of God-Creator, the Church has always promoted the respect for the Earth, entrusted to humans.. In order to carry out this mission, Vatican develops different actions, described below.
1) Diplomatic Activities of the Holy See
The Holy See (HS) is present in the life of several International Organizations (IO), mainly through its accredited diplomats. The official status of the HS in each IO is different: it officiates as guest, permanent guest, observer, member, founding member. The influence and the activities of the HS, consequently, also vary considerably in each context, according to its status but also to personnel relations or habits.
The HS is very close to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and it is important to mention that under Pope Benedict XVI, the main contribution of HS was to encourage the International Community to address the global challenge of food (in) security, recommending not to focus only on technical or short-term problems. Indeed, famine is not entirely due to geographical and climatic situations, to conflicts or to harvest scarcity. It is also caused by human selfishness. A true world development, organized and integral, must be promoted and reached. It requires an objective knowledge of human situations, the identification of the real causes of poverty and effective responses, while respecting biodiversity and the whole Creation. In fact, the human being must not rashly compromise the natural balance, a result of the order of creation, but on the contrary must take care to pass on to future generations an earth able to feed them.
Another important subject of the HS is the use of natural resources, its sustainability and its priorities: The order of creation demands that priority be given to those human activities that do not cause irreversible damage to nature, but which instead are woven into the social, cultural and religious fabric of the different communities. In this way, a sober balance is achieved between consumption and the sustainability of resources.
The HS has participated in many international environmental meetings with a message of peace and environmental protection to get the common welfare. In this sense, the Holy See stresses the importance of moving from a merely technological model of development to an integral human model, which takes as its point of departure the dignity and worth of each and every person. Each individual member of society is called to adopt a vocational attitude which freely assumes responsibility, in genuine solidarity with one another and all of creation.
These examples are sufficient in order to provide an overview of the activities undertaken by the HS in recent years through its diplomatic network. I summarize the main points: governance, solidarity, right-based approach, common good and political will.
2) Other activities of the Holy See
For a more complete overview, we must have a look also to those activities not exactly belonging to the diplomatic area.
Creation, understood as an ecosystem that can be analyzed, has been studied several times by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS). The PAS organizes in-depth thematic seminars, which usually lead to publications on issues like: water (2005), glaciers (2011), transgenic plants (2010) climate change and biodiversity (2010). The publications usually include the minutes of each seminar, which is quite interesting as they represent the contributions of scientist from different disciplines and different nations.
The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences works in a similar way, but its publications only marginally concern the environment or ecology; for example in its studies on globalization.
We should not forget that that Creation includes us… humans too! In this regard, the activities of the Pontifical Academy of Life ,need to be mentioned. It studies issues like: embryos (2006), right to life (2007), genetics or eugenics (2009). Recently, Pope Francis, strongly insisted on those issues: He stipulated “cultivating and guarding” doesn’t include only the relationship between humans and the environment, but they also concern human relationships.” «The Popes have spoken of human ecology as closely linked to environmental ecology. We are experiencing a moment of crisis; we see it in the environment, but mostly we see it in man. The human being is at stake: here is the urgency of human ecology.
3) Activities of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
The contribution of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP) to the safeguard of the environment is multiform. There is a constant activity, demanding but enriching, of monitoring the main environmental issues. In the last years, for instance, the PCJP worked on water, energy, land management and food security. In a near future we will almost certainly work also on issues concerning extractive industries and mining corporations.
4) The legacy of Benedict XVI
I would like to underscore three issues for reflection and action from the Magisterium of Benedict XVI.
Energy, a question deeply connected to justice and peace. Serious questions are waiting for effective responses and solutions. For instance: how can we use energy in solidarity and in a more durable way?
International cooperation concerning Creation. International cooperation, finance, environmental issues and development ones are deeply woven. How and with which criteria can we manage investments, discourage harmful subsidies, and oppose hoarding of resources? Answer those challenges becomes rapidly a vital factor, if we speak about food, water, land, seeds. How can we foster development in each country, without maintaining dependency and underdevelopment? This requires radical and systemic changes. This include adopting an ethics and having institutions and economic structures more just both at national and international level. This requires governance.
Human ecology. Remember that safeguard of the Creation, clearly, includes the human person, and I mean every human person.
Energy, internal cooperation and human ecology… These are the three points I would like us to reflect upon. Remember that: we cannot dispense ourselves from the Gospel and of Catholic values when we are dealing with the environment or, better, with the Creation.
Today is the day of love and friendship, is the day when all of us remember every special person in our live. Nevertheless, this day all of us are invited to remember the Love of the loves, the Love that gives the own live for friends.
Also we should remember our love for all creatures following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi whose love was example of the respect and careful that creation deserves.
Christopher Shannon, in the frame of the last WDY presented us some ideas from Romano Guardini, one of the most profound modern Catholic thinkers, who in 1926 wrote a famous book called Letters from Lake Como. In this book, Guardini develop a range of questions concerning man’s relation to the natural world, a foundational text of a tradition of authentically Catholic “environmentalism.”
Guardini born in 1885 in Verona, Italy, soon moved with his family to the city of Mainz, in Germany where his father went in search of employment. His parents were faithful, if not excessively devout Catholics who raised Guardini with a love for the great classics of European humanism, ranging from Dante’s Divine Comedy to Goethe’s Faust. By the early twentieth century, however, science had eclipsed literary humanism as the great achievement of European civilization. Indeed, for the enlightened of that age, modern science had rendered traditional Christianity obsolete. Guardini tried to embrace the spirit of his age through the study of chemistry and economics. Attending the University of Munich, he noticed that many of his fellow students had abandoned their religious beliefs; this caused him to begin to question his own faith. Guardini then underwent a period of spiritual crisis that he would later compare to that of St. Augustine. He emerged from this crisis with a renewed faith, but continued to pursue his secular studies. Still, after a few months of studying economics at the University of Berlin, he felt the call to the priesthood, eventually receiving holy orders on May 28, 1910. Over the next ten years, Guardini pursued a Ph.D. that would qualify him to teach in the German university system, served two years of service as a hospital orderly for the German army during World War I, and held various parish assignments.
Between the main ideas of Guardini, it could be mentioned the issue of the meaning of industrialism as it has spread into a previously unindustrialized region of Italy. He frames the problem in the following way: “I saw machines invading the land that had previously been the home of culture.” Significantly, he criticizes industrialism as less a corruption of pure nature than a transformation of culture. Nature was made for human habitation. The question is not whether to interact with nature or leave it alone, but how to live with nature in a manner that is both human and natural.
The unnatural relation between man and nature extends to social and economic relations among people. The factories that destroy nature also introduce an unnatural relation of production and consumption into human society.
Mass production and consumption had so distorted natural human living that people were nearly unable to imagine any other way of living: the artificial had become natural?
During his presentation in the Creatio event held in the frame of the WYD2013, Alfredo García presented us an overview about nature, culture and theology of reconciliation.
Beginning with the concept of nature, Dr. Garcia stated that nature is more than something that is not human or divine, “Nature” is referred to what is originally given in each being. Therefore, the meaning of nature emphasizes the idea about a reality previous to any human action or intervention; the identity like the most proper characteristic of a reality in its totality, and finally we must consider the nature towards an end, and is not something amorphous or chaotic, but ordered and intelligible, that is containing a direction and a meaning.
The third aspect, that has been previously, emphasized about the classical concept of nature refers to the importance of understanding that all of reality has an end (telos), and therefore any dimension of non-human or inanimate reality has a purpose or a direction. This was formulated as such by Aristotle, who argued that the end (telos) determined the concept of nature (physis), in the same way as a tree, with its “end” is already present in the “nature” of a certain seed, specifying and orienting its development. Inanimate things are not excluded, such as a rock for example, that being tossed in the air does not remain there but rather returns to its “natural place”, which is, precisely its “end”. In this way, despite the limitations of this pre-Christian form of thinking that was unconscious of a spiritual reality that transcended nature, the value of the Aristotelian formulation was found evidencing the “order” of the natural world, that it is a cosmos, rather than a chaotic amorphous mass or some irrational evolutionary torrent. Rather as cosmos it is a reality with an “end” and thus revealing a “logical” structure, intelligent and intelligible, found in its most intimate self.
The revelation of God in His Son Jesus Christ, and with it, the deepest revelation of the nature and end of all of reality, ratifies that logical and teleological sense of the non-human environment. But is also offers the final and deepest explanation of its meaning: in the beginning was the Word and through Him all was made. In this way, finite reality, once understood as a “physis” enclosed upon itself, is known as “creation”.
The theology of reconciliation, as the term itself indicates, emphasizes, therefore a “first relationship” of all of creation with a creative Trinity It’s not about a “conciliation”, the quest of some form of agreement among realities that were initially separate, but rather about the re-unification of something that, from the beginning, was already united in an essential harmony.
About the concept of culture, it is important to go back to the origin of this word, not only as a matter of precision in language, but because today it seems to have lost an essential sense of the original term. It is commonly accepted that it was Cicero who coined the term culture to refer to “human growth”. The term derives from the Latin verb meaning colere, which means “to grow”. Prior to this formulation of Cicero, the term “culture” was used, with different prefixes, to designate the reverent cultivation of something. So it is observed in particular noticeable way in the word agriculture, which means the “land farming”. The fact that the Latin tradition, through Cicero, has chosen the term “culture”, now without prefixes, to refer to “human culture” seems, then, to note that any “growing momentum” must have deep aware that what is going to grow is a “reality” that is beyond that initiatives to grow, that is, which is initially “given” and not “created” by humans.
Culture, then, is the way the human person grows all reality given, including especially their own, so that reality, in general, we provide the best fruits. The memory of this original meaning of the word “culture” seems to be eloquent enough to see the way it is linked to the dynamism of reconciliation operated by God.
Given the various “breakdowns” that can be verified in the culture of today –especially the “break with reality itself”– reconciliation, operated from the “foundational reality” of God, is offered as a deep response not only to recover the essential dynamism of culture as a “culture of reality” but to direct it to a greater fullness, that makes it to operate as a “cultural vibrancy” that carries itself and projects the “reconciling dynamism” to all spheres of reality. This is what the American bishops have been emphasizing in various pastoral documents proposing a “culture of reconciliation”.
In reconciled cultures, humans would appear more clearly, in relation to all creation and, within it, with respect to nature, as “lord of creation”, in the sense that it protects, but is also called to develop and configure it to work with the divine; he would appear as superior, but also participant in it; would appear as an actor, but also as a recipient of the wonders of nature, which allow their survival and their orientation towards God when contemplating the grandeur and beauty of the works of their hands.