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Human beings are not “consumers”

Dear friends in Christ,

As a priest, I am always humbled when people ask me to pray for them,
or when they share with me a burden or anxiety they experience. These can
vary from illnesses to struggles at work or among families. One recent theme
from families has been a nagging anxiety about how to live what Pope
Benedict called a proper “human ecology,” which involves how to make
economic and other decisions in a way which values the human person as
created by God and which thereby contributes to a sustainable world for future
generations to enjoy. So many things we use every day cut against a true
human ecology, either because of the conditions under which they are made,
or their impact on our common home.

These questions do not lend themselves to easy answers, but one solution
seems crystal clear to me: human beings are not “consumers,” and we must
stop thinking of ourselves and others as such immediately.
I am thinking about how to apply this in my own life and in the leadership of
the parish, and I and some other community members are exploring different
ways we can make our campus more “green.” But ultimately, as Pope Francis
has rightly pointed out, the solution to our economic and environmental
struggles is not a technocratic one, but a spiritual one. The decisions we make
in this regard must come from a place of radical commitment to the Gospel
and faith in the fullness of the teachings of the Catholic Church. May we
journey together in this way.

May God be Blessed!
–Father Eric Banecker