Patna. Dec 25: Archbishop of Patna,India, William D’Souza S.J has been an ace activist on ecology since 1996 when he gifted Tarumitra with ten acres of prime land in the metropolis to build the first ever Bio-reserve. Last year when the Copenhagen summit was on, the Archbishop wrote to all Churches and communities not to indulge in electric illumination for Christmas since “52 kilograms of coal produces one Unit of electricity.”
This year the Archbishop wrote a Pastoral letter to all the churches and communities of his archdiocese on the ecological concerns prior to the Christmas 2010. He urged all the people to stand up and take action especially on the conservation of electricity and water.
The letter is significant at a time the world leaders are finding it difficult to arrive at a consensus on the ecological front. “We need more Dharmagurus (spiritual heads) like the Archbishop to come and guide their flocks!” said the green architect, Joe Parekattil.
Archbishop William wrote, “In my 2009 Christmas message, published in the Archdiocesan Samachar, I had called your attention to this global concern. I had suggested to “spreading the message of saving our Earth and environment from pollution and carbon foot print by celebrating our Christmas with minimum amount of electrical illumination”. I congratulate all of you for positively responding to my suggestion within your capacity. At the same time, I wish to delve on the same subject in detail once again through this pastoral letter. This concern, my dear brothers and sisters, is very crucial, vital, urgent and alarmingly dangerous which needs our immediate attention.
The early Christian tradition reveals an eco-sensitive understanding of the mystery of Christ. St. Ireneus of Lyons said: “Christ recapitulates and summarizes all of creation.” Jesus was always a true Son of the Earth. He was the fulfillment of prophets like Isaiah who prayed “Let the earth be open to bud forth the savior (Isaiah: 45-8). St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Ireneus and St. Benedict are some of the striking examples from among the early Fathers of the Church, who vehemently acclaimed the unity of creation. They could interpret Christian life as one that is integrally related to the earth and the environment. “The earth forms not only the basic raw material for humankind, but also the substance of the incarnation of God’s Son.” (St. Hildegard of Bingen)
In the middle ages, we have St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), who had an integrated understanding of nature and God experience. He is known as the Saint of the Nature. He looks at the whole creation as one family. Every living creature is seen as his brother or sister. His eco-friendly life challenges the materialistic world of dominion and control which thus inspires us to live a life of friendship and harmony with nature. He insisted that his brothers leave a border around the community garden untouched so that wild grass and flowers could grow.
The erratic floods, cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, irregular monsoons, etc. are indications that the rhythm of life in nature is seriously in danger.
Archbishop William meets people (file pic)