St. Francis of Assisi: Catholic Official in Angola Calls for Actions “in favor of planet”

St. Francis of Assisi. | Bradley Weber via Flickr CC BY NC ND 2.0.

The people of God in Angola need to avoid actions that contribute to the destruction of the planet, the National Director for Justice and Peace Commission of the Bishops' Conference of Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe (CEAST) has said.

Addressing journalists in Luanda on the Feast of the Patron Saint of Ecologists, St. Francis of Assisi, Fr. Celestino Palanca urged Angolans to “come out of their selfishness and act in favor of the planet in order to avoid the extinction of the human race.”

“We invite everyone to be messengers of this good news of care for creation,” Fr. Palanca said during the Wednesday, October 4 press conference.

The Angolan member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) noted that “the world is our home. If an observer from a distant galaxy were to study human beings, he would ask himself the following question: why can't he stop exploiting the planet, which puts his life in danger every day?”

“The answer to this question is difficult to answer. Looking at the damage that man has done, even though he is aware of the dangers that come with actions that damage nature, he still can't stop himself,” the Angolan Catholic Priest said.


He went on to explain why the question of exploiting the planet seems difficult to answer, saying, “The population explosion, the greenhouse effect, the ozone layer, the conflict of interests between developed and poor countries, wars, the exploitation of natural resources and the severe damage caused to the ecological sphere are all signs that humanity is seriously compromised.”

It is ironical, Fr. Palanca observed, that “the human race, which collects all kinds of information, is perfectly aware of all the dangers.”

“It is a big mistake to expect anything from scientific data,” he further said, and explained, “If we wait for scientists and pressure groups to discuss prognosis, figures and their interpretations, we will be making a big mistake.”

Reflecting on the just released Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis “on the climate crisis”, Laudate Deum (“Praise God”), the Jesuit Priest said, the Holy Father “invites all men and women of good will to ecological conversion; he invites us to act as urgently as possible; he invites us to get out of our selfishness, out of our own little worlds and to set out on this great endeavor that is the care of creation.” 

He described the October 4 Apostolic Exhortation as the second part of the May 2015 Encyclical Letter on “care for our common home”, Laudato Si', in which “Pope Francis brings together all the current issues on environmental problems  so that each of us become aware of our responsibility to care for our common home.”

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As a Church, the Angolan Catholic Priest continued, “we are going to do our part by taking this message to all men and women of goodwill, inviting everyone to work to save Planet Earth, to work to save humanity.”

“Humanity is at risk because of our action, human action that goes against the will of the Creator, who wants men and women to have life and life in abundance, for all creatures to praise him,” Fr. Palanca said.

He implored, “May St. Francis of Assisi intercede for us with the Father, so that we may obtain from the Lord the Grace of ecological conversion.”

João Vissesse is an Angolan Journalist with a passion and rich experience in Catholic Church Communication and Media Apostolate.