Following a proposal made at the Amazon synod, Pope Francis said he will soon be updating the catechism to include “sins against ecology.”
Pope Francis’ comments come from a meeting last Friday at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace to 600 participants at the 20th World Congress of the International Association of Penal Law. The meeting was convened on the theme of “Criminal Justice and Corporate Business.”
He spoke to what ecological sin means, saying the “Synod Fathers for the Pan-Amazon Region proposed to define ecological sin as action or omission against God, against one’s neighbor, the community, and the environment.”
“It is a sin against future generations and is manifested in acts and habits of pollution and destruction of the harmony of the environment, in transgressions against the principles of interdependence and in the breaking of networks of solidarity between creatures.”
Speaking penally, he said lawmakers should adopt an “elementary sense of justice” so “corporations … do not go unpunished” for committing the sin of “ecocide,” what he said needs to be recognized by the international community as the “fifth category of crimes against peace.”
“Ecocide … the massive contamination of air, land and water resources, the large-scale destruction of flora and fauna, and any action capable of producing an ecological disaster or destroying an ecosystem.”
Stating a plan to follow through on the proposal in the future, he said “it is a duty that we have to introduce into the Catechism of the Catholic Church sins against ecology, ‘ecological sin’ against the common home.”
Pope Francis also said the “culture of waste” poses a threat to the common good, and is degenerating into a “culture of hatred” in which “emblems and actions typical of Nazism reappear.”
He added further in off the cuff comments that he is “reminded of Hitler’s speeches in 1934 and 1936″ when he hears speeches from some person in charge of order or the government” – without citing specific examples.
“They are actions typical of Nazism which, with its persecution of Jews, gypsies, people of homosexual orientation, is the quintessential negative model of the culture of rejection and hatred.”
Read Pope Francis’ full address here.