World celebrates Pope’s words as faith groups shift into action

Intro

The world is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on ecology, “Laudato Si”, and much of those celebrations are focused on taking climate action. In Australia Thursday, four Catholic orders shifted their investments away from coal, oil and gas companies in the first ever joint Catholic divestment announcement. The moral case against fossil fuels has powered countless actions around the world, including the Interfaith Climate Statement, the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, and the Hindu Declaration on Climate Change this year. For Catholics, high-profile actions, including a Spanish Cathedral going 100 per cent renewable, and countless churches taking part in the energy transition are adding to the momentum sparked by the Pope in June 2015. On the individual level, people are sharing stories of how they are living Pope Francis’ words using the #LiveLaudatoSi hashtag. Given the excitement buzzing from Laudato Si Week, and potential of 1.2 billion Catholics around the world finding ways to “live Laudato Si” , the impact of Pope Francis’ words to “care for our common home,” could prove massive.

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Key Points

  • If Catholics live Laudato Si, it can make a real difference for the climate. Around the world, there are 1.2 billion Catholics, more than 220,000 churches, and over  100,000 catholic primary and secondary schools. – all offering ample surface space to install rooftop solar panels. What’s even more encouraging is that new polling from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate shows that 68 per cent of Catholics believe we have a moral responsibility to personally act on climate change, and 73 per cent of Catholics believing society needs to take steps to address climate change.
  • Anyone, regardless of their faith, can live Laudato Si. Pope Francis stressed in his encyclical that we are all connected to each other by the planet we all share. Anyone can reduce their energy consumption levels, shift their investments away from harmful fossil fuels, embrace renewable energy or simply speak out. The numerous faith-related climate announcements taking place since Laudato Si was published show that when it comes to moral imperative for taking action, climate change is an issue shared across all divides.

Background

Pope Francis long awaited Encyclical on the environment is called “Laudato Si (Be Praised), On the Care of Our Common Home”.

It was an open letter to shape Catholic teaching globally about humanity’s universal responsibility to “care for our common home” and tackle the root causes of the greatest interlinked challenges of our time: climate change and poverty.

The Encyclical builds on Francis’ previous statements on the “clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to act” in order to protect the environment.

It was widely welcomed by voices from across the political spectrum and all sectors.

His Holiness joined scientists, business leaders, economists, investors, doctors, trade unions, youth, and other moral and spiritual leaders around the world who are all called for a transition from dirty fossil fuels to a future powered by clean renewables, making the moral case for climate action as definitive and unassailable as the 97 per cent scientific consensus.

The Encyclical acknowledges the robust science and is expected to influence global politics, but it is not a scientific or a political document. It is a profound moral call on humanity to reject ‘capitalism at all cost’ in favour of love and care for our environment and the world’s poor.

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Quotes

  • “Today’s step by the Catholic orders, and similar actions that are in the works, will inspire pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, universities, and other global investors to follow suit, and thereby add their financial weight to planetary safety, human dignity, and integral and sustainable human development.” – Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, University Professor, Columbia University, and Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Sustainable Development Goals
  • “The earth is a gift from God and we have a moral obligation to protect and nurture it. We began Laudato Si Week as a way to celebrate the Pope’s encyclical, to use the events as a visual showcase to thank Pope Francis for his leadership and advocacy on this issue.” – Tomas Insua, Global Coordinator of the Global Catholic Climate Movement
  • “There are 70 million Catholics living in the United States alone, and nearly 18,000 parishes. That is a lot of homes to make more efficient, and a lot rooftops for solar.” – Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network
  • “While the financial case for low-carbon investments and the economic case for adapting business models to a warming world are increasingly being taken seriously in the investor and business communities, the moral arguments outlined in the Encyclical have helped to remind many Christian business people and investors of their responsibility to act. As the well-supported climate-related shareholder proposals at recent Chevron and Exxon AGMs demonstrated, faith groups drawing inspiration from the Encyclical continue to make an important contribution to reforming the ways companies and funds work.” – Christina Herman, Program Director on Climate and Environment, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
  • “As scientists we tried talking to people’s heads, but the Pope taught us to talk to people’s hearts.” – Marcia McNutt, Editor in Chief, Science
  • “The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) was deeply inspired by Pope Francis’ historic encyclical on ecology, Laudato Sí, and has taken many steps to act on the Holy Father’s call to action over the past year. The Conference has also incorporated the encyclical’s teachings into long-term strategic planning. Care for creation is a bedrock teaching of the Church.” – Bishop Oscar Cantú,  Chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace, and is bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • “Laudato Si is not the opinion of the Pope, it’s the Magisterium of the Church.” – Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences
  • “Almost a million people standing up in one year is big, but it is only just the beginning. There are 1.3 billion Catholics out there, and as they all take on board Pope Francis’ teachings, the groundswell of action on climate change will be immense. Everyone, not just Catholics, can live Laudato Si, and by doing so we can save our common home for all.” – Tomas Insua, co-founder of the GCCM

Suggested Tweets

  • @Pontifex has inspired us with his call to care for creation. How will you choose to #LiveLaudatoSi?
  • Thank you @Pontifex for inspiring us with the Laudato Si Encyclical. I will work towards caring for our common home. #LiveLaudatoSi
  • #PopeFrancis has called on the world’s Catholics to care for Our Common Home. Join us in thanking him for his words of wisdom #LiveLaudatoSi
  • The Laudato Si teaches us to care for the environment. Take a selfie describing how to plan to #LiveLaudatoSi
  • There are 1.2B Catholics in the world. If we all worked to #LiveLaudatoSi in our daily lives it would make a huge difference