Pope Benedict XVI preached the gospel of green to hundreds of thousands of young Catholics in Loreto, Italy, on Sunday, one day after the Italian church’s designated Save Creation Day. While the church gave out recycled-material backpacks filled with biodegradable plates, hand-cranked cell-phone chargers, and prayer books printed on recycled paper, the pontiff implored young people to care for the earth. “New generations will be entrusted with the future of the planet, which bears clear signs of a type of development that has not always protected nature’s delicate equilibriums,” said the Pope, who was decked out in vestments of green, the liturgical color of hope. “Before it is too late one must make courageous choices that can recreate a strong alliance between mankind and the earth.”

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