Blog Post

Vatican: Gulf Oil Spill is a Lesson in Humility

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist During a recent interview on Vatican television, the director of the Vatican Press Office cited the “impotence and slowness” of both BP and the U.S. government to plug the blown oil well in the Gulf, saying the disastrous episode should serve as a lesson in humility to all of us. Speaking during the latest episode of Octava Dies on Vatican television, Zenit News is reporting that Fr. Federico Lombardi addressed the environmental catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf since the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling platform.   "It is difficult to calculate the dimensions of the disaster, but they are certainly enormous and continue to grow," he said. "There come to mind other grave environmental disasters connected with human activity like those of the chemical factory in Bhopal, India in 1984, or that of the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986, which caused a number of deaths and serious harm to people."   He continued, "What is striking in this case is the sense of impotence and slowness in finding a solution in the face of the disaster, on the part of one the largest and most well-equipped multinational oil companies in the world, but also on the part of the most powerful country on earth." He went on to say that this horrific situation was not caused by the eruption of a volcano, but of a relatively small hole made by man on the ocean floor. “And yet, in two months, super-specialized scientists and technicians have not been able to stop it." This situation should teach us a lesson “about prudence and care in using the resources of the earth and about the planet's equilibriums," Fr. Lombardi said. “Certainly, much will change from now on in the oil drilling industry to make it safer. But perhaps we can also learn a lesson of humility.” He added: "Technology will always make progress. But if in relatively simple production processes such impotence is manifested, what will we do if much more complex processes get out of control, like those that have to do with the energy hidden in the nucleus of material or still more in the processes of the formation of life?" For this reason, he applauded Pope Benedict XVI for ending his last encyclical with a chapter on responsibility in the use of power and technology. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®