Presentation of the Pastoral Guidelines on Climate Displacement

March 30, 2021

Dr. Cecilia Dall’Oglio, associate director of GCCM’s European Programs.

“Our brothers and sisters displaced by climate are at risk of finding our hands too full to hold them!” Dr. Cecilia Dall’Oglio, associate director of GCCM’s European Programs, said.

The document “Pastoral Orientations on Climate Displaced Persons“, by the Migrants and Refugees Section, Sector of Integral Ecology Sector of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, was presented at the Holy See Press Office.

The press conference took place on the morning of Tuesday, March 30, and was led by Matteo Bruni, director of the Press Office. Among the participants were the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Michael Czerny; Father Fabio Baggio, Undersecretary of the Dicastery; Dr. Cecilia Dall’Oglio, associate director of the European Programs of the Global Catholic Climate Movement; and Father Joshtrom Kureethadam, coordinator of the Ecology working team of the Vatican’s Covid-19 Commission.

The document contains relevant facts, interpretations, policies, and proposals on the phenomenon of climate displacement. It is the result of careful listening to local Churches and religious congregations and Catholic organizations working in the field. 

It aims to provide considerations that will help in pastoral planning and in the development of programs to assist climate displaced persons, Father Baggio explained.

In her turn to speak, Dr. Cecilia Dall’Oglio questioned “Examples of concrete responses to fight the climate crisis? The first is to find spaces for collaboration and strategic action, with the joy of walking together, which is the spirit of St. Francis’ Song.”

She pointed out that the key is “to be together, in the Body of the Lord”, since “synodality is the answer to our prayer before the face of those who suffer and whom we want to love, to the cry that resounds in our hearts, because the challenge is great”.

She then alluded to the importance of promoting dialogue and ecumenical networking: “It is definitely the experience that Christians around the world live as they unite in prayer and action for the Season of Creation: it is celebrated every year from September 1, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, until October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi”.

The document, structured in ten points, explains the relationship between the climate crisis and displacement, and the concrete aspects of this phenomenon so that everyone can “open their eyes to the reality of the impact that the climate crisis has on human existence”. 

In this sense, Dall’Oglio exclaimed: “Our brothers and sisters displaced by climate change run the risk of finding our hands too full to support them!

And he exhorted the community, “From our democratic countries, we have to fight first and foremost by assuming our responsibilities and doing our part for climate justice, for our brothers and sisters who no longer have anything.”

“Young people are asking us to make a change, they are asking us not to limit ourselves to doing our little bit, but to be strategic in order to bring about change”, added the associate director of the European Programs of GCCM.

Also, His Eminence, Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ, said: “We have a lot to learn, but above all, we want to know how to respond to the people who are forced to flee because of the climate crisis. Their needs are immediate and cannot wait.”

Watch the full press conference here.

During the conference, a new page dedicated to climate displaced people was launched on the Migrants and Refugees section website. You can download here the Pastoral Guidelines in 5 languages and different formats.