Contemporary environmental consciousness in the Church received a strong kickstart with St. Pope John Paul’s 1990 World Day of Peace message Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All of Creation and in a number of statements from conferences of bishops in recent years. While there had been some environmental activism from the Catholic Rural Life Conference and other grassroots Catholic groups and church leaders at the local, national, and international levels prior to 1990, it intensified in the years following.
A strong component of that consciousness focused on stewardship of the environment, drawing inspiration from scripture. John Paul argued that through the Genesis work mandate “to subdue the earth,” humans image their Creator and share God’s creative action, a font of deep spirituality. With the Lord, we become co-creators of the earth and the ways humans have developed society over time, what we might call “creation given” and “creation enhanced...”
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