Pope Francis: Protecting the Earth is a requirement of Christianity
Pope Francis speaks from the central loggia of St Peters' basilica during the "Urbi et Orbi" blessing for Rome and the world following the Easter Mass in the Vatican on April 5, 2015 (AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte)

Pope Francis said protecting the environment was a key component of the Christian faith during Sunday morning Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

"The gift of the Holy Spirit renews the earth. The Psalmist says: 'You send forth your Spirit… and you renew the face of the earth.' The account of the birth of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles is significantly linked to this Psalm, which is a great hymn of praise to God the Creator," the pope said, according to Vatican Radio.

"The Holy Spirit whom Christ sent from the Father, and the Creator Spirit who gives life to all things, are one and the same. Respect for creation, then, is a requirement of our faith: the 'garden' in which we live is not entrusted to us to be exploited, but rather to be cultivated and tended with respect," the pope continued.

His comments came ahead of the publication of a much-anticipated encyclical on the environment and climate change, which will be released in June.

"Yet this is possible only if Adam – the man formed from the earth – allows himself in turn to be renewed by the Holy Spirit, only if he allows himself to be re-formed by the Father on the model of Christ, the new Adam," the pope added. "In this way, renewed by the Spirit of God, we will indeed be able to experience the freedom of the sons and daughters, in harmony with all creation. In every creature we will be able to see reflected the glory of the Creator, as another Psalm says: "How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!"

Watch video, via Rome Reports, below:

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