MANILA, June 8, 2016— Polluting or destroying the environment is the result of people’s lack of respect for creation and care for it as a “gift of God,” Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila said.
Speaking before the Caritas Asia Regional Conference in Bangkok, Thailand June 6, he said environmental problems the world is facing today are caused by people’s failure to understand that the earth “is not ours.”
“We became selfish and greedy because we think what we have is truly ours. But they are not. They are God’s gift to us,” Tagle said. “We need to recover the horizon of gift!”
As president of Caritas Internationalis, an international confederation of charities with 164 member-organizations, Tagle is among the speakers of the weeklong conference which ends on June 10.
The first two days of the meeting was a workshop on Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on the environment.
The cardinal’s talk on Monday was particularly focused on Caritas and its “vocation” to be protectors of “God’s handiworks.”
“We need to recover the tenderness in the Church. This is the face of Caritas and our mission–to show the love, kindness and caring of the followers of Christ,” Tagle added.
The workshop has also provided a forum for the participants to share their challenges and experiences on how the encyclical inspires the works of Caritas at the diocesan, national and international levels.
Established in 1999, Caritas Asia has 23 members who work together in different parts of the region to better pool resources.
As the region is prone to repeated natural disasters, Caritas Asia focuses on creating better disaster preparedness and on building stronger local capacity to respond to emergencies.
Other priorities include addressing climate change and human trafficking which are important regional issues.
With emergencies created by conflict also affecting the region, Caritas Asia also invests in reconstruction, peacebuilding and inter-faith dialogue.
From Bangkok, Tagle will fly to the United States where he will serve as the spiritual director of this year’s special assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops starting June 13. (R. Lagarde/CBCPNews)