Focus on money destroys the environment – cardinal

December 12, 2011
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga

Excessive focus on money is destroying the environment and dehumanizing people, said Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, president of Caritas Internationalis.

Religious communities have a duty to call attention to the importance of the human person, who is "at the centre of creation," he said.

Rodriguez, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, led a 20-person Caritas delegation to the United Nations-sponsored climate change talks in Durban, South Africa.

In a panel discussion Dec. 1 with religious leaders on the issue of climate change, Rodriguez said, "Our economic system and its search for money above all have dehumanized human beings. Religious groups have a duty to humanize them again."

"Our tendency to search for money is destroying the environment," he said.

During a Dec. 4 Mass, the cardinal said people need to understand that a materialist, consumerist lifestyle not only has a harmful impact on the environment, it also distances people from God.

"We're filling up our lives with things, but remain empty inside. We're informed about everything, but have no idea where to direct our lives," he said.

People must shed "all the superfluous things in our excessive consumer society" and embrace only that which is necessary for life, he said. They should also be guided by God's peace and love in order to promote justice and solidarity in the world.