Balancing Natural Law and human life

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

As we observe the Season of Creation and the United Nations is preparing to host the next climate conference in November, a recent joint statement was issued by Pope Francis, Patriarch Bartholomew I, and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. In part, the three Christian leaders stated,

   “This is the first time that the three of us feel compelled to address together the urgency of environmental sustainability, its impact on persistent poverty, and the importance of global cooperation. We say: Choose people-centered profits; make short-term sacrifices to safeguard all our futures; become leaders in the transition to just and sustainable economies.” The statement continued with the appeal that this is the time to “listen to the cry of the Earth.”

 I recall a statement made by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on the World Day of Peace in 2007. He wrote,

  “Alongside the ecology of nature, there exists what can be called a ‘human’ ecology, which in turn demands a ‘social’ ecology. All this means that humanity, if it truly desires peace, must be increasingly conscious of the links between natural ecology, or respect for nature, and human ecology. Experience shows that disregard for the environment always harms human coexistence, and vice versa. It becomes more and more evident that there is an inseparable link between peace with creation and peace among men.”

Key to both of these statements is the emphasis on the essential balance between two ecologies: nature and the human family.  Embracing a renewed commitment to Natural Law – a body of unchanging moral principles regarded as a basis for all human conduct – may actually serve as common ground for people of faith as well as those who may not possess religious beliefs because, when all of creation is honored and all of human life is revered, true harmony and balance between the two ecologies (nature and human) can happen. With Natural Law comes reconciliation among the need to protect human life at all stages and in all circumstances, to serve the common good, to be in solidarity with vulnerable people, to promote just economies, to support marriage and family life, and to be good stewards of this planet so that it may always have the ability to serve humanity well. 

May all of creation cry out with gladness to the glory of our Creator.

In the name of the Lord who made Heaven and Earth,

Fr. Gurnick