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papalemblemFROM POPE FRANCIS’ ENCYCLICAL LAUDATO si:, #67,
“On Care for Our Common Home.” We are not God. The earth was here before us and it has been given to us. This allows us to respond to the charge that Judaeo-Christian thinking, on the basis of the Genesis account which grants man “dominion” over the earth (cf. Gen 1:28), has encouraged the unbridled exploitation of nature by painting him as domineering and destructive by nature. This is not a correct interpretation of the Bible as understood by the Church. Although it is true that we Christians have at times incorrectly interpreted the Scriptures, nowadays we must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion
over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures. The biblical texts are to be read in their context, with an appropriate hermeneutic, recognizing that they tell us to “till and kep” the garden of the world (cf. Gen 2:15).“Tilling” refers to cultivating, ploughing or working, while “keeping” means caring, protecting, overseeing and
preserving. This implies a relationship of mutual responsibility between human beings and nature. Eachcommunity can take from the bounty of the earth whateverit needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protectthe earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations. “The earth is the Lord’s” ( Ps 24:1); to him
belongs “the earth with all that is within it” ( Dt 10:14).  Thus God rejects every claim to absolute ownership: “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; for land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with me” ( Lev 25:23).

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