June 18th 2015
“God wills the interdependence of creatures. The sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow: the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 340)
The Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) profoundly thanks Pope Francis for his encyclical Laudato Si that calls on all men and women of goodwill, the whole human family, to care for creation, protect human dignity and safeguard our common home. We are grateful that the leadership of Pope Francis in the issuance of this encyclical has highlighted the urgency to act on climate change and highlights that “human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning.” (205)
We support Pope Francis’ acknowledgement that the climate, together with other components of natural systems, is a common good, and that we all must recognise the immensity and urgency of the challenges ahead. We also agree that justice includes intergenerational solidarity; the environment is “on loan to each generation.” (159) We too recognise that all creatures, including humanity, are interconnected and dependent on one another and hence integral solutions are required.
We join Pope Francis in his call for dialogue and for us to work to create a new and universal solidarity that recognises those integral relationships between the social and economic ills of our age. To achieve this universal solidarity–this communion–a new and better paradigm of socio-economic development is necessary, one that is sustainable and includes intergenerational solidarity.
Thus, we underscore within the encyclical Benedict XVI’s contribution to the social teaching of the Church: “To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of true world political authority, as my predecessor Blessed John XXIII indicated some years ago”. (175)
We applaud Pope Francis for urging that all Christians “cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.” (14) Quoting Saint John Paul II, the Holy Father tells us that Christians must “realize that their responsibility within creation, and their duty towards nature and the Creator, are an essential part of their faith.” (64) Thus, the Christian may live by the ecological commitments of their convictions, and so work to restore the garden that God created for us in the beginning.
“A healthy relationship with creation is one dimension of overall personal conversion, which entails the recognition of our errors, sins, faults and failures, and leads to heartfelt repentance and desire to change.” (218) We thus call to mind St. Francis of Assisi and invite all to examine their everyday habits and lifestyles, mindful of their connection with God, neighbour and creation, so that each of us contributes our skills to build a better future.
We urge our human family to shift away from fossil fuels with the goal of keeping global average temperatures within 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels. We have the technology to do this, and clean energy for all is feasible. We draw on our Judeo-Christian heritage of hope and faith, believing that all things are possible with sufficient love and commitment. We must all prayerfully reflect, with the encyclical, on how we may best put our shoulders to the task of moving our economies and institutions to gear up for a renewable energy future.
In thanking Pope Francis for his inspired leadership, we the GCCM sincerely thank all bishops who raise awareness on climate change and we urge their brother bishops and catholics of the world to join them.
In support of the encyclical, the GCCM will further promote personal and organisation ecological conversion to reduce emissions and transition to a low carbon world. We encourage all Catholics to know and live the prophetic wisdom of Pope Francis, sharing his concern for the needs of the poor, the protection of the environment, and all gifts given to us by God.