June 21, 2010 // Uncategorized

BP oil leak offers 'lesson in humility,' Vatican spokesman says

By John Thavis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The “sense of powerlessness and delay” in resolving the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history offers a lesson about the limits of technology, a Vatican official said.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said in a commentary June 19 that the leaking BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico was a disaster “of enormous proportions, and getting worse.”

He compared it to the 1984 chemical factory explosion in Bhopal, India, or the 1986 meltdown of the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine.

“What is striking in this case is the sense of powerlessness and delay in finding a solution to this disaster faced by one of the largest and most technologically advanced oil multinationals in the world, but also by the most powerful country on earth,” Father Lombardi said.

“It seems incredible, but it is a fact. This is not the eruption of a volcano, but a relatively small man-made hole in the seabed. Yet, in two months, expert scientists and technicians, leaders in their field, have failed to plug it,” he said.

The Vatican spokesman said he hoped people would draw from the disaster a lesson of prudence and care in the use of the earth’s resources.

“Perhaps we can also draw a lesson in humility,” he said.

“Technology will advance. But if a relatively simple production process leaves us so helpless, what will we do if much more complex processes get out of hand, such as those affecting the energy hidden in the heart of matter or moreover in the processes of the formation of life?” he said.

Father Lombardi noted that the issue of responsible use of technology was addressed by Pope Benedict XVI in his latest encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate” (“Charity in Truth”).

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