Turkson’s Letter to All Bishops Urges Participation in Climate Marches, Emphasizes “Rights of Environment”

November 27, 2015

Vatican City

23 November 2015

Your Eminence, Your Grace, Your Excellency:

In the name of the Holy Father as well as my own, we continually thank God with all our hearts for the many graces bestowed since the promulgation of the Encyclical Letter Laudato si’ on 18 June. Outstanding among these are the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on 1 September and the Holy Father’s address to the United Nations on 25 September in which he argued eloquently for what he called in Spanish a true “derecho del ambiente” (law or right of the environment).

The purpose of this letter is to encourage and sustain the follow-up underway both within the Church and in the wider world, from now until December.

Speaking at the World Meeting of Popular Movements earlier this year, Pope Francis observed that justice often requires prudent political action from elected officials. At the same time, the Holy Father recognized that simply to rely on well-known or high-profile leaders for action is often not enough. “The future of humanity does not lie solely in the hands of great leaders, the great powers and the elites.” Rather, “it is fundamentally in the hands of peoples and in their ability to organize. It is in their hands, which can guide with humility and conviction this process of change.” (emphasis added)

On 26 October, an “Appeal” from the Church in each continent was formally signed and made public at a lively press conference at the Holy See Press Office here in Rome. For the text of the Appeal, please click: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2015/10/26/0824/01831.html#in

On 29 November, a million or more men, women and children will take part in the Global Climate March. They will gather if possible in Paris, and also in London, Berlin, Madrid, Amsterdam, Bogotá, Johannesburg, Dhaka, Kampala, Omaha, Rome, São Paulo, Sydney, Seoul, Ottawa, Tokyo and some 3000 other cities. They will truly be exercising global ecological citizenship.

The 50,000 representatives at COP21 – 25,000 official delegates and another 25,000 participants with various interests – need to hear the message of Laudato si’ and the voice of God’s people. To echo these in the halls of negotiation and decision is the role of citizens everywhere calling for a responsible, successful COP21.

Your Eminence, Your Grace, Your Excellency, you are warmly invited to offer your support in prayer, word and action. Accordingly, I would invite you to offer the celebration of the Eucharist in your Diocese, on 29 November, for a responsive and successful international conference and summit. Moreover, if you could please encourage the faithful and many others to exercise their “ecological citizenship”, this would surely help to reinforce the humble and peaceable spirit of Laudato si’, and it would spiritually express communion with the universal Church.

You are therefore invited, if interested, to check if there is an event in favour of caring for the climate in your Diocese or nearby, at the following links: http://globalclimatemarch.org/fr/ http://globalclimatemarch.org/en/ http://globalclimatemarch.org/de/ http://globalclimatemarch.org/pt/ http://globalclimatemarch.org/es/ To find out about the Global Climate March in your area, and to obtain contact information, please send a brief e-mail to [email protected]

You will promptly receive information about the events being planned, as well as details of the contact-person. Should you experience any difficulty in receiving this e-mail or in opening the link, please contact: [email protected]

Let us join in offering the prayer with which the worldwide “Appeal” concludes: “O God of love, teach us to care for this world our common home. Inspire government leaders as they gather in Paris to listen to and heed the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. Let them be united in heart and mind in responding courageously. May they seek the common good and protect the beautiful earthly garden you have created for us, for all our brothers and sisters, for all generations to come. Amen”

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, President