Bartholomew I on inter-faith dialogue, ecology

AsiaNews reports that Bartholomew I gave quite the address last week before an influential audience of the Orthodox world. His talk defended his unyielding intentions for inter-faith dialogue.

"We will insist on dialogue, despite the criticism that we suffer," he said. "There is, unfortunately, a certain religious fundamentalism, a tragic phenomenon, which can be found among Orthodox and Catholics, among Muslims and Jews. These are people who think they alone have the right to exist on earth, almost as if they alone have the right to rule on this our planet according to the Old Testament. And they say there is no room for anyone else, and are therefore opposed to any dialogue."
The strong tone of the talk made all the more notable his insertion of the ecology within it. But this makes sense, because dialogue works best when one can speak of what is shared--and what is a more shared reality than the natural environment? And so Bartholomew I noted that in speaking of those of other faiths, "we do not discuss purely theological issues as it would be difficult. But we talk about social issues, social issues that effect all people, all humanity, all over the world." AsiaNews then adds that

ecology has been one of the favorite themes of the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 1989. The Patriarch said:  "Everything that we try to do, we do because we believe it is our duty, because the Church should be actively present in the contemporary world and be sensitive to people's problems, raise awareness and encourage them to love and protect nature like their own homes".  He added: "The environment, nature, is God's creation and do not belong only to us who live today in 2010. They belong to all future generations."
Not surprisingly, you'll find a page on the Ecumenical Patriarchate's web site dedicated to the environment. You can also hear Bartholomew in his own words, in 1997, stating unequivocally that harming the environment is a sin:

Let us keep Bartholomew I in our prayers as he works to bring about understanding, closeness and ecological awareness.

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Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.