Environmental Stewardship in the Catechism

Excerpts presented by the Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center


Ways of Coming to Know God


Created in God's image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him.  These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of "converging and convincing arguments," which allow us to attain certainty about the truth.  These ways of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world and the human person. (no. 31)


St. Paul says of the Gentiles: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.

And St. Augustine issues this challenge: Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky...question all these realities.  All respond: "See, we are beautiful."  Their beauty is a profession.  These beauties are subject to change.  Who made them if not the Beautiful One who is not subject to change? (no. 32)



How Can We Speak About God?

MothAll creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God.  The manifold perfections of creatures -- their truth, their goodness, their beauty -- all reflect the infinite perfection of God.  Consequently we can name God by taking his creatures' perfections as our starting point, "for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator." (no. 41)

God transcends all creatures. (no. 42)

When he listens to the message of creation and to the voice of conscience, man can arrive at certainty about the existence of God, the cause and the end of everything. (no. 46)

We really can name God, starting from the manifold perfections of his creatures, which are likenesses of the infinitely perfect God, even if our limited language cannot exhaust the mystery. (no. 48)



"I Believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth"



BabySealEach creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection.... Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God's infinite wisdom and goodness.  Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment. (no.  339)





"I Believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God"


"I Believe in the Holy Spirit"


Excerpts from the English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church for use in the United States of America Copyright © 1994, United States Catholic Conference Inc., - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 



For more environmental justice in the Catechism, go to

Environmental Justice in the Catechism, Part II


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