The Pope's propitious choice of a name: Francis
In his first address to the nearly 200 members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, the newly-elected Pope explained his name choice, Francis (of Assisi), by proclaiming a primary concern for the world's poor while others in the world greedily exploit nature for their own selfish values.
Saint Francis of Assisi is adopted by many ecologists as their patron saint.
Citing his predecessor Benedict's criticism of the "tyranny of relativism", whereby the co-existence of peoples takes second place to individualistic values, Pope Francis decried the material poverty that derives from such "spiritual poverty." As peaceful co-existence is threatened by such personally proclaimed selfish rights, we should work for peace.
To create a more humane and just world, to work for peace, we need to care for the good of others, to build bridges connecting all people, especially promoting a dialog between one end of the world and another as we become more interdependent. And such a dialog needs to occur among all the world's religions.
In sum, fighting poverty, both material and spiritual, building peace and constructing bridges are the reference points for the journey he wishes to invite us to join. "But," as he concluded, "it is a difficult journey, if we do not learn to grow in love for this world of ours. Here too, it helps me to think of Francis, who teaches a profound respect for the whole of creation and the protection of our environment, which all too often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to one another's detriment."
This monthly "Creation Corner" column originally appears in the newsletter at www.uclc.org .