.- The governments of the world should back âthe exploitation of clean energy sources,â Pope Benedict XVI said June 9.
The Pope made his remarks in an address to a group of ambassadors at the Vatican. His comments came on the same day Switzerland voted to phase-out its nuclear energy program.
âThe first half of this year has been marked by many tragedies that have affected nature, technology and people,â the Pope said in reference to the March earthquake in Japan that triggered radioactive leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
At the same time, the Pope cautioned, âMan, to whom God has entrusted the safeguarding of nature, cannot be dominated by technology or become its object.â
The Pope said this awareness should lead all countries to âreflect on the short-term future of the planetâ and âtheir responsibilities with regard to our life and technology.â
âHuman ecology,â he stressed, âis an imperative.â
âWe must adopt a lifestyle that respects the environment and support research and the exploitation of clean energy sources, respectful of the heritage of creation and harmless to humans, these must be our political and economic priorities.â
The Popeâs comments carry a particular political significance for many western countries currently questioning the future of their nuclear industries. Todayâs vote in the Swiss parliament follows an identical decision in Germany last month. Pope Benedictâs homeland will now phase out nuclear power by 2022.
The Pope said we all have to undergo a âchange of mentalityâ so as to arrive at âan overall lifestyle that respects the balance between man and nature.â
âAll governments must commit to protect nature and help it fulfill its essential role in the survival of humanity,â he said, suggesting that the United Nations seems to be the obvious forum to achieve this.
Pope Benedict also critiqued the way that technology is sometimes used without any ethical consideration.
He warned that when societies believe that technology is the âexclusive agent of progress or happinessâ they make embark on a road that âleads to blindness and misery.â
He told the assembled ambassadors that putting too much trust in âan all powerful and ultimately uncontrolled technologyâ deprives man of his humanity. The antidote to this, he said, was for governments to âpromote a humanism that respects the spiritual and religious dimension of man.â