As opposed to some of the other issues previously discussed (in vitro fertilization and artificial contraception), a Christian concern for the protection of the environment is an issue that finds wide resonance in today’s culture. While we previously mentioned the negative role that media played in distorting some issues, it is only fair to note the positive role the media may play in that today there is a widespread awareness of environmental concerns thanks in part to the educational campaigns governments have launched using available media. As far as I am aware, opposition to environmental protection comes mainly in two forms: either from business opposing measures that would be detrimental to their freedom of conducting business transaction, or from political forces opposing environmental restrictions on the exploitation of some natural resource (the cri de guerre “drill now” from the last election campaign comes to mind). The reasoning used by the former group is usually centered around an undue burden placed on companies in order to conduct their business. The burden may come in the way of taxation, restrictions on the use of materials, and other environmental preservation guidelines. The latter group use excuse their reasoning on the basis of the urgency of the present situation where the public is asked to pay high prices for resources (such as oil) while a vast reservoir of untapped resources remains unused out of environmental concerns (offshore drilling or drilling in protected areas). One thing to keep in mind when discussing these issues is the middle ground presented by the Church in the principle of sustained development, which refers to the balancing of economic needs today and the care of the environment for future generations. One essential feature is that care for the environment requires planning and it’s not a quick fix (O’Neil and Black, p. 292).
Bibliography for series
Catechism of the Catholic Church: Revised in Accordance with the Official Latin Text Promulgated by Pope John Paul II. 2nd ed.
Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Donum Vitae, Instruction on Respect for Human Life and Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation Replies to Certain Questions of the Day. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19870222_respect-for-human-life_en.html
Eberstadt, Mary: “The Vindication of Humanae Vitae”
John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Veritatis Splendor http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_06081993_veritatis-splendor_en.html
Newman, John Cardinal: Letter to the Duke of Norfolk
O’Neil, Kevin and Black, Peter. The Essential Moral Handbook.
Ligouri: Ligouri Publications, 2006
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace: Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
Washington: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2005
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Strangers No More, A Pastoral Letter Concerning Migration from the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States
Williams, Thomas. Knowing Right From Wrong – A Christian Guide to Conscience.
New York: Faith Words, 2008.