AGAINST THE INDISCRIMINATE EXPLOITATION OF THE EARTH
In the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo today, for the occasion of World Tourism Day 2008, Benedict XVI received 300 participants in a meeting promoted by the Centre for Youth Tourism and by the International Office for Social Tourism. They were accompanied by Cardinal Renato Martino and Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.
Referring to the theme of the Day this year - "Tourism: Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change" - the Pope pointed out that humanity has the duty to protect the resources of creation and "to commit itself against the indiscriminate use of the goods of the earth", because "without adequate ethical and moral limits, human behaviour can become a threat and a challenge.
"Experience shows that the responsible administration of creation is part, or should be part, of a healthy and sustainable tourist economy", Pope Benedict added, going on to mention John Paul II's 1991 Encyclical "Centesimus Annus" in which the late Pontiff "criticised the excessive and arbitrary consumption of resources, recalling that man is God's helper in the work of creation and cannot take His place. ... 'Humanity today must be conscious of its duties and obligations towards future generations'".
Benedict XVI went on: "It is therefore necessary, especially in the field of tourism which depends so heavily on nature, that everyone should seek a well-balanced management of our habitat, in what is our common home. ... Environmental degradation can be stopped only by spreading an appropriate culture which includes more sober lifestyles. ... Hence the importance of educating people to an 'ethic of responsibility'".
The Holy Father told his audience that the Church shared their commitment "to what is known as social tourism, which promotes the participation of the weaker sectors of society and thus can be an important tool in the fight against poverty, ... creating work, protecting resources and promoting equality". Social tourism "represents a reason for hope in a world where differences between those who have everything and those who suffer hunger, want and drought have become more accentuated".
Finally, the Pope called on young people "to support and practice ways of behaviour that help to appreciate and defend nature from a correct ecological perspective, as I highlighted on a number of occasions during World Youth Day in Sydney in July".
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