By: Ellen Teague
A week of celebrating the second anniversary of Laudato Si’ has been kicked off in the Philippines. The week 18-24 June will mark Pope Francis’ historic encyclical on care for creation and our common home. It challenges us to “hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” through ecological conversion, changes in lifestyle and society, and strong political action.
Cardinal Tagle of the Philippines has been among those pushing for the anniversary to be celebrated with signing the Laudato Si’ Pledge. He attended the launch on 17 June in Manila of the worldwide campaign by the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) and its member organisations to raise awareness of the Laudato Si’ message and to encourage the Catholic community to take action with the urgency required by the climate crisis.
The pledge reads: "Answering Pope Francis' urgent call in Laudato Si', I pledge to: Pray for and with creation; Live more simply; Advocate to protect our common home."
Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago described the encyclical as "an unequivocal call to action to protect our common home." "As we mark the second anniversary of this groundbreaking document, there is an even greater urgency to work together to honour the gift of our creator," he said.
Others endorsing the pledge so far are eco-theologian Columban Fr Sean McDonagh; Pax Christi International president Marie Dennis; Franciscan Fr Richard Rohr; May Boeve, executive director of the 350.org grassroots climate organization; and former UN climate executive secretary Christiana Figueres.
The Catholic Church with a collective carbon footprint of 1.2 billion faithful (17% of the world’s population) and the institutional Church (220,000 parishes, 150,000 schools) has a significant role to play in addressing the climate crisis.
Many Church leaders have issued quotes for the second anniversary:
Cardinal Peter Turkson: “Laudato si is important for its affirmation of hope in humanity’s ability and power to change for the better: the better of our common home!”
Cardinal John Ribat, Archbishop of Papua New Guinea and President of the Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania: “This is a crucial ministry to help the global Church respond to the climate crisis. On behalf of the vulnerable communities of Oceania, I urge all Catholics to join and support this important effort to bring Laudato Si’ to life.”
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Archbishop of Durban, South Africa: “The Laudato Si’ message is important because it is asking everyone to put the smile back on God’s offer as he continues to inspire and guide us his children to take care of the creation, which he created so good.”
Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich, President of the European Conference of Justice and Peace Commissions: “We all are called to listen to the cry of the nature. Praise be to all of those who invest their personal resources in order to preserve our common natural resources. We all are called to listen to the cry of the poor. Praise be to all of those who concretise economic models that create harmony between nature and humankind.”
Maria Voce, President of the Focolare Movement: “For us, Laudato Si is a strong reminder of unity, of the profound interconnectedness of all creation, and of our role in adopting a consequent lifestyle which safeguards our habitat. With a renewed drive and confidence, it is our hope that everyone may know how to look with love at every ambit of the universe and, as individuals and peoples, regardless of creed, nurture an ever ardent sense of responsibility in caring for the common home of the human family.”
Tomas Insua, Executive Director, Global Catholic Climate Movement: “The Laudato Si Pledge is the Catholic Church’s chance to witness to and co-create the new, clean, life-giving paths forward that our world desperately needs. Pope Francis helped transform the climate debate by reframing it as a moral issue. Now is the turn for the Church to “walk the walk” and bring the encyclical’s message to life.”
Marie Dennis, Co-President, Pax Christi International: “The honest reflection of Laudato Si’ on broken relationships within the whole earth community challenges us all to deep personal and societal transformation, while the concept of integral ecology at the heart of the encyclical offers an enormously hopeful grounding for a more peaceful, as well as a more just, future.”
Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, writer and theologian: “Pope Francis has brilliantly and courageously reconnected the Catholic and Christian tradition with its neglected foundation in creation and nature itself. He is more Franciscan than Jesuit! He takes the Incarnation to its logical conclusions.”
Fr Sean McDonagh, Columban priest and Eco-theologian: “Laudato Si is an important step in the Church’s understanding of our human relationship with both the Creator and all of creation. We must continually learn from science, evolve our theology, and humbly situate ourselves in the wider creation story that began with the initial flaring forth 13.7 billion years ago to the world in which we live now and into the future. We must be open to encounter creation and learn from it.”
Amy Woolam Echeverria, Columban International Coordinator for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation: “Living Laudato Si’ is at the heart of living the Gospel of justice, peace, and wholeness with all of Creation. The Laudato Si’ Pledge opens the journey for any person of faith towards ongoing ecological conversion that lasts a lifetime.”
Endorsements of other Global Leaders
Christiana Figueres, former UN climate chief: “Now more than ever, the world needs to heed the moral imperative of Laudato Si’, and step up to the bold and urgent action that is necessary.”
Yeb Saño, former lead climate negotiator for the Philippines: “Laudato Si’ has brought clarity and urgency to the Church’s message on care for creation. As we already see the devastating effects of climate change taking place, it is important for each and every one of us to hear Pope Francis’ call for an “ecological conversion” and a response that includes individual change, peaceful political action, community solidarity, prayer.”
For more information and to sign the Laudato si' pledge see: www.indcatholicnews.com/news/32805
and the Catholic Climate Movement: https://catholicclimatemovement.global/