"In a similar way, the pope said, the church's teaching on ecology needs to be understood as arising from God -- the "creator Spirit" -- who made the earth and its creatures with an "intelligent structure" that demands respect. Because of faith, the church has a responsibility for protecting the created world and for proclaiming publicly this environmental responsibility, he said.
The pope then explained why the human being must be at the center of the church's ecological concern.
"The church must protect not only the earth, the water and the air as gifts of creation that belong to everyone. It must also protect man against self-destruction," he said. "The tropical forests certainly deserve our protection, but man as a creature does not deserve any less."
By "self-destruction," the pope said he meant "contempt for the Creator," and he said examples could be found in so-called "gender" issues today. He offered a case in point: Marriage as a permanent union between a man and a woman was something instituted by God as "the sacrament of creation."
Although the pope didn't specifically talk about same-sex marriage, the meaning was clear enough to prompt some unusual headlines about rain forests and homosexuals."
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