The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, brings salvation not only to humankind, but also, in a different way, to the whole of creation.
In the letter to the Colossians we see that not only are all things created in Christ, but all things are reconciled in him:
"He is the image of the unseen God and the first born of all creation, for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible... Before anything was created, he existed, and he holds all things in unity". (Col. 1:15 - 17)
On 17 January 2001 during a general audience at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II , commenting on the environmental health of Earth, lamented that, "we immediately see that humanity has disappointed God's expectations ... degrading that 'flowerbed' which is the earth, our dwelling-place."
John Paul II, in calling the world's Catholics to a commitment to avoid ecological "catastrophe" emphasized that, "we must therefore stimulate and sustain the ecological conversion".
The Pope added, "at stake, then, is not only a 'physical' ecology that is concerned to safeguard the habitat of various living beings, but also a 'human' ecology which makes the existence of creatures more dignified, by protecting the fundamental good of life in all its manifestations and by preparing for future generations an environment closer to the plan of the Creator."
This executive agency of the Bishops' Commission for Justice, Ecology and Development (BCJED) is mandated with the mission of advising, supporting and assisting the BCJED in responding to Pope John Paul II's call to "stimulate and sustain the ecological conversion" throughout the Catholic church in Australia and beyond.
Catholic Earthcare Australia, inspired by the words of John Paul I (in his 1990 World Day of Peace Message, "Peace with God, Peace with All of Creation" and General Audience Vatican Address of 17 January 2001) shares his vision of a world where we will:
Tasks and Responsibilities
Catholic Earthcare Australia will act as an advisory agency to the BCJED on ecological matters, including the safeguarding of the integrity of creation, environmental justice and ecological sustainability.
Its tasks will include:
Catholic Earthcare Australia will serve as an executive agency of the BCJED and in this capacity may function as a charitable incorporated body. The members of Catholic Earthcare Australia may establish and will supervise any committee, council, working group or foundation deemed necessary to advise and assist Catholic Earthcare Australia in its work and fundraising activities and may invite persons from outside the membership of Catholic Earthcare Australia to serve on such voluntary bodies.
Only members of the BCJED will be eligible for membership of Catholic Earthcare Australia. Catholic Earthcare Australia's membership will comprise of at least three bishops, one of whom will serve as chair and another as deputy chair. The Bishop-members will oversee Catholic Earthcare's activities, ensuring that its responsibilities are adequately fulfilled, and will supervise the work of the executive officer and of any commissioned advisers or advisory groups.
In May 2002, the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference meeting in Sydney, within sight of the Pacific Ocean, approved the formation of Catholic Earthcare Australia.