Pope Francis calls for Swift Action on Climate Change - Papal Encyclical discusses connection between faith, stewardship and action on climate change
Lyons, Nebraska - Today, Pope Francis, in a sweeping Papal Encyclical, called for a political, economic and personal transformation aimed at confronting climate change and related environmental concerns. The much-anticipated Encyclical, entitled Laudato si: On the Care of our Common Home, is a strong call to stewardship of the environment, and responsibility for our neighbors. It is a significant invitation to care for creation through swift action, not only to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, but to all people who share our common home.
“Laudato si takes a wide view on humans’ interaction and connection to the natural world,” said said Lauren Kolojejchick-Kotch, Energy and Climate Associate at the Center for Rural Affairs. “Pope Francis discusses issues ranging from pollution and climate change, water issues, the loss of biodiversity, global inequality, the human roots of the ecological crisis, the gospel of creation and the theological foundation that calls us to action.”
All of us who live in rural and small town America, as stewards of creation, should recognize that Pope Francis points out our distinct responsibility to care for each other, by consuming less energy, and clean energy, and by caring for the land, water and natural resources our communities depend on.
Lauren Kolojejchick-Kotch, Center for Rural Affairs
To view or download a copy of the Papal Encyclical go to: www.vatican.va
According to Kolojejchick-Kotch, climate change is a centerpiece of this encyclical, as a primary issue of concern for human and environmental ecology. Pope Francis urges people of faith to thoughtfully consider how they contribute to climate change, and accordingly, address their behavior.
“Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it,” said Pope Francis. “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”
Pope Francis continued by explaining that the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.
To address the ecological changes before us, Pope Francis focused on ethical transformation and commitment to what is at the heart of stewardship. “All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents,” he writes.
“I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all,” declared Pope Francis. “In the present condition of global society, where injustices abound...the principle of the common good immediately becomes, logically and inevitably, a summons to solidarity and a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sister.”
“Agricultural, rural and poor communities, locally and around the world, are among the most vulnerable to the growing threat of climate change. As we think about how to appropriately approach this growing challenge, we should consider Pope Francis’ call to consider the health and vitality of our communities and the health of the environment as one in the same, and act for the good of both,” concluded Kolojejchick-Kotch.