Catholic and Evangelical Leaders in US Call for Urgent Action on Climate

July 30, 2015

We have a unique responsibility to promote sustainable development, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and build a thriving culture of life that protects human dignity. At their core, climate change and air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels are pro-life issues. The toxic pollution released from coal-fired plants and chemicals spewing into rivers and oceans present especially grave risks for life in the womb, young children and the elderly. The costs of delay are unacceptable.

As Catholic and evangelical leaders, we are deeply inspired by Pope Francis’ recent encyclical that draws attention to the shared responsibility we have to be prudent stewards of creation.

We are clergy, university presidents, women religious, theologians and advocates committed to redoubling our efforts in confronting a crisis that disproportionately impacts the poor and most vulnerable. Pope Francis has issued a bold call to action, and the clock is ticking on a challenge that requires a collective effort in service of the global common good.

As citizens of the most powerful nation in human history, we have a unique responsibility to promote sustainable development, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and build a thriving culture of life that protects human dignity. At their core, climate change and air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels are pro-life issues. The toxic pollution released from coal-fired plants and chemicals spewing into rivers and oceans present especially grave risks for life in the womb, young children and the elderly. The costs of delay are unacceptable. As Pope Francis wrote: “There is an urgent need to develop policies so that in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced.”

We urge elected officials to reflect on the pope’s words and recognize that climate change, poverty and extreme inequality – interconnected issues that can’t be understood in isolation – are defining challenges of our day. In a spirit of solidarity, we encourage presidential candidates, members of Congress and governors who have raised doubts about the seriousness of climate change to consider the moral dimensions of this issue and the urgent need for action.

Pope Francis is not alone in calling for a response. Catholic bishops and diverse faith-based organizations have long been at the forefront of advocating for prudent action. Evangelical leaders issued An Evangelical Call to Action in 2006 stating: “Christians must care about climate change because we are called to love our neighbors, do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and
protect and care for the least of these as though each was Jesus Christ himself.”

Pope John Paul II warned in 1990 that the “greenhouse effect” had reached “crisis proportions.” Pope Benedict XVI asked in 2010: “Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers?”

Inspired by the actions and words of Pope Francis, we are hopeful that politicians in our country will take a closer look at this profound moral issue and show the world that we can lead by example.

In Faith,

Rev. Jim Wallis
President and CEO
Sojourners
Washington, DC

Sr. Simone Campbell
Executive Director
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Washington, DC

Bishop William Skylstad (Retired)
Former President
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Spokane, WA

Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza (Retired)
Former President
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Galveston-Houston

Miguel H. Diaz, Ph.D.
Ambassador to the Holy See, Ret.,
The John Courtney Murray University Chair in Public Service
Loyola University Chicago
Chicago, IL

Michael Galligan-Stierle
President
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
Washington, DC

Dan Misleh
Executive Director
Catholic Climate Covenant
Washington, DC

Daniel Curran, Ph.D.
President
University of Dayton
Dayton, OH

Rev. Mitchell Hescox
President and CEO
Evangelical Environmental Network

Dr. Al Tizon
Co-President
Evangelicals for Social Action
King of Prussia, PA

Rev. Carlos Malave
Executive Director
Christian Churches Together
Louisville, KY

Timothy Collins
Executive Director, Retired, Catholic Campaign for Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Arlington, VA

Walter Grazer
Former Manager, Environmental Justice Program
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Sharon Holland, IHM
President
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Silver Spring, MD

Rev. Dr. Joel C. Hunter
Senior Pastor
Northland – A Church Distributed
Longwood, FL

Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A.
President
Villanova University
Villanova, PA

Rev. Clete Kiley
Director of Immigration Policy
Unite Here
Washington, DC

Patrick Carolan
Executive Director
Franciscan Action Network
Washington, DC

Rev. William Kelley, SJ
Secretary for Social and International Ministries
Jesuit Conference of Canada and the Untied States
Washington, DC

Rev. Stan Mitchell
Senior Pastor
GracePointe Church
Franklin, TN

Dr. Ronald J Sider
President Emeritus
Evangelicals for Social Action

St. Davids, PA
Dr. Tony Campolo
Professor Emeritus
Campolo Center for Ministry

St. Davids, PA
Dr. Brian D. McLaren
Convergence
Marco Island, FL

Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J.
President
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Stephen A. Privett, SJ
Chancellor
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

John Inglis
Chair and Professor of Philosophy
University of Dayton
Dayton, OH

Richard Cizik
President
New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good
Fredericksburg, VA

Pat McDermott, RSM, President
President
Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Silver Spring, MD

Rev. Bernard F. O’Connor, OSFS
President
DeSales University
Center Valley, PA

Christine M. Wiseman
President
Saint Xavier University
Chicago, IL

Christopher G. Kerr
Executive Director
Ignatian Solidarity Network

John P. Fitzgibbons, S.J.
President
Regis University
Denver, CO

Charles J. Dougherty, Ph.D.
President
Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit
Pittsburgh, PA

Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM
President
DePaul University
Chicago, IL

Donna M. Carroll
President
Dominican University
River Forest, IL

John Smarrelli
President
Christian Brothers University
Memphis, TN

John Gehring
Catholic Program Director
Faith in Public Life
Washington, DC

Kristyn Komarnicki
Director of Communications
Evangelicals for Social Action
Philadelphia, PA

Drew Christiansen, S. J.
Distingished Professor
Georgetown University
Washington, DC

Jeffrey von Arx, S.J.
President
Fairfield University
Fairfield, CT

Sr. Anne Munley
President
Marywood University
Scranton, PA

David Hollenbach, S.J.
University Chair in Human Rights and International Justice
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA

Ronald Pagnucco
Associate Professor
College of St Benedict/St. John’s University
St. Joseph, MN

Alex Mikulich
Research Fellow
Jesuit Social Research Institute, Loyola University
New Orleans, LA

Dr. Dermot Lane
Mater Dei Institute of Education
Dublin, Ireland
Candace Introcaso, CDP
President
La Roche College
Pittsburgh, PA

Mary Meehan
President
Alverno College
Milwaukee, WI

Jonathan Merritt
Columnist, Religion News Service
Brooklyn, NY

J. Chris Bradbrrry
Interim President
Creighton University
Omaha, NE

Fr. John A. Coleman S.J.
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

John Sniegocki
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics
Xavier University
Cincinnati, OH

Dr. Scot McKnight
Northern Seminary
Lombard, IL

Tobias Winright
Maeder Endowed Chair of Health Care Ethics
Saint Louis University
Saint Louis, MO

David Livingston
President
Lourdes University
Sylvania, OH

Paul Alexander, PhD
Professor
Palmer Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, PA

Donna Carroll
President
Dominican University
River Forest, IL

Donald B. Taylor, Ph.D.
President
Cabrini College
Radnor, PA

Dr. David Fitch
BR Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology
Northern Seminary
Lombard, IL

Brandan Robertson
Founder & Director
The Revangelical Movement
Washington, DC

Dr. Peter Enns
Professor of Biblical Studies
Eastern University
St. Davids, PA

Eugene J. Cornacchia
President
Saint Peter’s University
Jersey City, NJ

David O’Brien
Professor of Catholic Studies Emeritus
College of the Holy Cross
Jefferson, MA

Nancy Sylvester, IHM
President
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue
Detroit, MI

Anthony Annett
Climate Change and Sustainable Development Advisor
Earth Institute, Columbia University
New York, NY

Moya K Dittmeier
Executive Director
Conference for Mercy Higher Education
Silver Spring, MD

Kathleen Owens
President
Gwynedd Mercy University
Gwynedd Valley, PA

Anne Curtis, RSM
Leadership Team
Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Silver Spring, MD

Deborah Troillett, RSM
Leadership Team
Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Silver Spring, MD

Eileen Campbell, RSM
Leadership Team
Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Silver Spring, MD

Mary Pat Garvin, RSM
Leadership Team
Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Silver Spring, MD

Robert Hemberger
Catholic Priest
Catholic Diocese of Wichita, Kansas
Wichita, KS

Fr. John E. Hurley, CSP
Consultant
New Evangelization Strategies
San Francisco, CA

Fr. Lawrence E Mick
Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Dayton, OH

Rev. John Becker
Pastor
Holy Cross & St. Anne
Mishicot, WI

Fr. Vincent Louwagie
Director: Ministry to Ministers Sabbatical Program
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
San Antonio, TX

Rev. Gregory J Mayers, CSSR
Director East/West Meditation
The Redemptorists/Denver Province
Burlingame, CA

Fr. John Monestero
St.Justin Martyr Catholic Church
Anaheim, CA

Rev. Thomas Marti
Maryknoll Society
Seattle, WA

Fr. Warren J. Savage
Albert and Amelia Interfaith Center
Westfield, MA

Rev. Louis Tylka
St. Julie Billiart Parish
Tinley Park, IL

Fr. Michael A. Boccaccio
St. Philip Church
New Haven, CT

Rev. William G. Menzel
(Ret.)
Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Donald Senior, C.P.
President Emeritus
Catholic Theological Union
Chicago, IL

Rev. Edwin Gearhart
St Teresa of the Child Jesus Church
Springfield, OH

Dr. Richard Mouw
Professor of Faith and Public Life
Institute of Faith and Public Life
Pasadena, CA

Rev. Charles T. Durante
Carson City, NV

Fr. Duane Pribula
Priest/chaplain
Diocese of Crookston, MN
Fargo, ND

Dr. Walter Brueggemann
Professor Emeritus
Columbia Theological Seminary
Cincinnati, OH

Dr. Noah J. Toly
Director of the Center for Urban Engagement and Associate Professor of Politics
& International Relations
Wheaton College
Wheaton, IL

Laura Truax
Senior Pastor
LaSalle Street Church
Chicago, IL

Joseph E. Nyre
President
Iona College
New Rochelle, NY

Thomas J. Gamble
President
Mercyhurst University
Erie, PA

Jason Caniglia
Vice President for Advancement
Regis University
Denver, CO

Christopher J. Hale
Executive Director
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

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