Care for creation is new work of mercy

September 26, 2016

VATICAN CITY - Calling for concrete actions that benefit human life and the environment, Pope Francis proposed adding the care and protection of creation to the traditional list of corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

As a spiritual work of mercy, the pope said, care for creation requires "a grateful contemplation of God's world."

As a corporal work, it calls for "simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness."

The pope reflected on the need for an integral ecology in Christian life in his message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Sept. 1.

The message, titled Show Mercy to our Common Home, reflects on the meaning of the day of prayer.


It is both an occasion for Christians to "reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation" and a time to thank God "for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care."

Pope Francis said concern for the planet's future unites religious leaders and organizations and draws attention to "the moral and spiritual crisis" that is at the heart of environmental problems.

"As an integral ecology emphasizes, human beings are deeply connected with all of creation. When we mistreat nature, we also mistreat human beings."