As we continue to remember the strong legacy of Pope Benedict XVI (Card. Joseph Ratzinger), we cannot help but recall how he influenced so much of who we are today as Laudato Si’ Animators.
We remember someone we love and admire: we remember his legacy, we are grateful for it and, genuinely, we want to keep it and make it grow, to share it with others who will keep it alive. Thus, we rejoice that Benedict XVI lives on through the Laudato Si’ Animators.
How did Benedict XVI influence our ecological spirituality and action?
- He implemented a solar energy plan at the Vatican in 2008.
- He announced 7 new social sins including “Contributing to environmental pollution” and “Increasing extreme poverty or wealth”.
- He had the Vatican’s first electric ‘papal car’.
- He dedicated his first homily – as Pope – to the relationship between spiritual, social and environmental deterioration.
- At his initiative, the Vatican was the first country to implement a concrete plan to become the “First Carbon Neutral Country”.
Pope Francis’ Laudato Si‘ is undoubtedly the legacy of the pontificate that preceded him, and therefore we, Laudato Si’ Animators, are also the result of the steps that Benedict XVI took.
1. He encouraged us to recognize our human dignity that entails being guardians of all God’s Creation, who trusts us to bring it to fulfillment. This call to be “guardians” makes us more Christ-like, regardless of culture and even religion.
“seeing creation as God’s gift to humanity helps us understand our vocation and worth as human beings.” (Benedict XVI).
2. He inspired us to be ‘down to earth’, to put Christian wisdom and values at the service of all Creation, starting with what is in our hands: parishes, communities, countries.
3. He helped us with his messages, homilies and letters – such as ‘Caritas in Veritate‘ – to find the interconnection between spirituality, morality, politics and ecology.