COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop

No. 826        Diocese of Marbel, Philippines                             11 July 2015

 

CHAPTER THREE

HUMAN ROOTS OF THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS (4th installment, “LAUDATO SI”)

“To understand the human roots of the ecological crisis Pope Francis proposes to focus on the dominant technocratic paradigm and the place of human beings and of human action in the world.” (n. 101)

I. TECHNOLOGY: CREATIVITY AND POWER

“Two centuries of enormous waves of change: steam engines, railways, the telegraph, electricity, automobiles, aeroplanes, chemical industries, modern medicine, information technology and, more recently, the digital revolution, robotics, biotechnologies and nanotechnologies.  Rejoice for the ‘wonderful products of a God-given creativity’. (n. 102, citing JP II, 1981)

These wonderful products “have given us tremendous power…Never has humanity had such power over itself, yet nothing ensures that it will be used wisely.  It is extremely risky for a small part of humanity to have it” (n. 104)

“The fact is that ‘contemporary man has not been trained to use the power well’ (Romano Guardini) because our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience.” (n. 105)

II. THE GLOBALIZATION OF THE TECHNOCRATIC PARADIGM

“The basic problem goes even deeper: it is the way that humanity has taken up technology and its development according to an undifferentiated and one-dimensional paradigm.  This paradigm exalts the concept of a subject, who using logical and rational procedures, progressively approaches and gains control over an external object.  This subject makes every effort to establish the scientific and experimental method, which in itself is already a technique of possession, mastery and transformation…Human beings and material objects no longer extend a friendly hand to one another; the relationship has become confrontational.” (n. 106)

“Many problems of today’s world stem, from the tendency, at times unconscious, to make the method and aims of science and technology an epistemological paradigm which shapes the lives of individual and the workings of society.  The effects of imposing this model on reality as a whole, human and social, are seen in the deterioration of the environment.” (n. 107)

“The technocratic paradigm also tends to dominate economic and political life.”  Profit, without concern for its ‘negative impact on human beings.”  ‘Finance overwhelms the real economy’.  Poverty will be resolved simply by market growth.”  ‘Yet by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion’ (n. 109, citing Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate 35)

“Thereneeds to be a distinctive way of looking at things, a way of thinking, policies, an educational programme, alifestyle and a spirituality which together generate resistance to the assault of the technocratic paradigm.  Otherwise, even the best ecological initiatives can find themselves caught up in the same globalized logic.” (n. 111)

III. THE CRISIS AND EFFECTS OF MODERN ANTHROPOCENTRISM

“Modern anthropocentrism has paradoxically ended up prizing technical thought over reality.  Since ‘the technological mind sees nature as an insensate orders, as an object of utility, as raw material to be hammered into useful shape.; it views the cosmos similarly as a mere space into which objects can be thrown with complete indifference.’”  (Romano Guardini, 63; n. 115) “Our ‘dominion’ over the universe should be understood more properly in the sense of responsible stewardship” (FABC, Tagaytay, 1993; n. 117)

“A correct relationship with the created world demands that we not weaken this social dimension of openness to others, much less the transcendent dimension of our openness to the ‘Thou of God’.  Our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and with God.” (n. 119)

Practical relativism

“A misguided anthropocentrism leads to a misguided lifestyle.  Practical relativism typical of our age is ‘even more dangerous than doctrinal relativism’” (n. 122, quoting his Evangelii Gaudium, 80).  When human beings places themselves at the centre, they give absolute priority to immediate convenience and all else becomes relative.” (n. 122)

“This culture of relativism…treats others as mere objects.”…”leads to sexual exploitation of children and abandonment of the elderly…human trafficking, organized crime…commerce in blood…buy and sell of human vital organs…waste…consumerism…” (n. 123)

The need to protect employment

An approach to integral ecology “takes account of the value of labor” (n. 124 – cites St. John Paul II Laborem Exercens, “passim”)

“We were created with a vocation to work…work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfillment” (n. 128)

“In order to continue providing employment, it is imperative to promote an economy which favours productive diversity and business creativity.” (n. 129)

New biological technologies

“Human interventions on plants and animals is permissible when it pertains to the necessities of human life…”experimentation on animals is morally acceptable only ‘if it remains within reasonable limits [and] contributes to caring for or saving human lives.” (n. 130, CCC 2417)

“All such use and experimentation ‘requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation’” (n. 130; CCC, 2415)

St. John Paul’s ‘balanced position’ stressed the benefits of scientific and technological progress as evidence of the ‘mobility of the human vocation to participate responsibly in God’s creative action’, while also noting that ‘we cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention to the consequences of such interference in other areas.’  (n. 131; JP II, message WDP, 1990, p. 6).  Adding “the study and application of molecular biology”…should not lead to ‘indiscriminate genetic manipulation’ which ignores the negative effects of such interventions’ (JP II, 1990 WDP, p. 7)

“Any legitimate intervention will act on nature only in order to favour its development in its own line, that of creation, as intended by God.” (n. 132, JP II, 1983, 6)

“A technology severed from ethics will not easily be able to limits its own power.” (n. 136)

 Next issue: CHAPTER FOUR.  INTEGRAL ECOLOGY, p. 102)

Back to: 2015 COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop

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About bishopdinualdo

Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez is the Bishop of the Diocese of Marbel
This entry was posted in Earth Spirituality., Encyclical letter, Environment Principles, Environment/Ecology, Laudato Si, Pope, Pope Francis. Bookmark the permalink.

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