From the Director: When beloved individualism runs into the common good
Clearly, I live in a bubble. Having worked in the Catholic Church my entire career, the importance of the common good and solidarity are as familiar to me as baseball is to a baseball fan. As Catholic Christians, we are, in fact, called to be our brother’s and sister’s keepers. Yet I continue to be puzzled by how many people embrace—as if it is an article of faith—the ethos of American individualism. This ethos is seen in the “choice” of bringing a baby to term or in the flaunting of the obligation to protect ourselves and our neighbors from COVID by wearing a mask. Too many of us act as though we’ve never even heard the terms solidarity or the common good. I often ask myself, what happened to love of neighbor and the expansive definition of neighbor that is defined so clearly in Matthew 25? I wonder why so many embrace individual “rights” but ignore the corresponding “responsibility” to secure those rights for others.
Over the years, responses to the climate crisis have been similar. Instead of seeing the threat to current and future generations, too many of us go about our fossil fuel-fueled lives as if their lives don’t matter. Sure, we have a right to own a car and heat and cool our homes, but we also have a responsibility to protect others from a warming planet resulting from these behaviors. We ignore the science because it asks us to change our lives, to live more simply, and to take seriously that we are co-creators with God.
None of us perfectly live our faith. But, at a minimum, we ought to be questioning the dangers of runaway individualism and be willing to think beyond our own needs and desires.
As we enter into the sixth anniversary of the release of Laudato Si’, I pray that we can be reminded, as Pope Francis says so eloquently, that all is connected, that we must hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, and that we’re not faced with two crises, one environmental and one social, but one crisis that is both environmental and social.
Founding Executive Director
Catholic Climate Covenant
Catholic Climate Covenant Updates
“Call to Action to Care for Our Common Home” taking place May 15th: Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s Catholic Action Team invites you to their very first virtual CCL Catholic Conference: Call to Action to Care for Our Common Home, on May 15th from 12-4 p.m. Eastern. Catholics are a large demographic in Congress and there is now an opportunity to support significant climate legislation. The conference will explore the tools you’ll need to effectively reach Catholics and activate the Catholic voice to Care for Creation. Speakers include Bishop John Stowe from the Diocese of Lexington; Bishop Robert McElroy from the Diocese of San Diego; and Jose Aguto from Catholic Climate Covenant as a keynote speaker. Everyone is invited, especially anyone with Catholic members of Congress. They made it easy for you to find out if your member of Congress is Catholic. The conference will take place on Zoom, and once you register you will receive a link to join closer to the date. Register here! You can view the conference schedule here.
Catch up to the 21-day environmental justice challenge: This 21-day environmental justice challenge is brought to you by the joint efforts and partnership of Ignatian Solidarity Network, Catholic Climate Covenant, Global Catholic Climate Movement, Jesuit Office of Justice and Ecology, and the Sisters of Mercy. From April 23-May 16, those who sign up will receive daily emails on environmental justice, and topics including land, air, energy and water. If you join now, you can follow along on the website for the days that have already passed, and you will receive daily emails between now and May 16. Learn more and sign up here.
Watch Recording of Sacred Land, Sacred Spaces Webinar: If you missed this special webinar in the spirit of encounter and of Laudato Si’, the Catholic Climate Covenant invites you to watch a recording of the webinar Sacred Land, Sacred Spaces here featuring Deborah Echo-Hawk, Ronnie O’Brien, and Nikki Cooley, and the dedication they share to the well-being of Native American tribal nations and peoples, and the lands, territories and cultures they hold sacred.
Thank you for attending film screening! Thank you to everyone who attended Catholic Climate Covenant’s online screening of the award-winning documentary The Condor and the Eagle. Your donations have made a difference for impacted communities featured in the film and for our guests who participated in the panel discussion. After the film screening we enjoyed an enlightening post-film discussion with two of the film’s protagonists – Casey Camp-Horinek and Bryan Parras – as well as Sarah James – a Neets’aii Gwich’in elder from Alaska and internationally known figure.
From Our Blog: Laudato Si’ and the Importance of Ecosystems - The Example of the Yellowstone Wolves: Read the latest entry in Covenant's blog here by Nancy LaVerda, Catholic Climate Covenant Public Health Volunteer, to learn how the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone has led to new life, new water patterns and more ecological balance and harmony at the park. The blog begins: “Because all creatures are connected, each must be cherished with love and respect, for all of us as living creatures are dependent on one another. Each area is responsible for the care of this family.” (Laudato Si’ 42) ... This passage from Laudato Si’ makes me think of one of the best examples of the interdependence of all living creatures and at the same time a successful strategy for species and ecosystem protection: the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park." …
Laudato Si’ Week Coming May 16-24th! Laudato Si’ Week 2021 is a global event sponsored by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and supported by the Global Catholic Climate Movement in collaboration with about 150 Catholic organizations, including Catholic Climate Covenant. During the week, we will learn, dialogue, and act for our common home. Together we will take steps in our journey toward ecological conversion. Laudato Si’ Week 2021 will take place from May 16-24 with global events and hundreds of local and regional events organized by partners around the world. This #LaudatoSi6 Week will also be the culmination of the Special Laudato Si' Anniversary Year (proposed by Pope Francis from May 2020 to May 2021) and the celebration of the great progress the entire Church has made on its journey towards ecological conversion. The week will also be a time to reflect on what the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us and to prepare for the future with hope. For more information and to participate go here.
Four-Part Series on the Pathbreaking Encyclical Fratelli Tutti: Franciscan Action Network is excited to bring you a series of discussions that will unpack the Holy Father’s directives to help heal divisions and guide us towards better unity. As a way to enrich our understanding and reflection on the encyclical, they will host four discussions on Fratelli Tutti in conjunction with specific topics. These discussions will be:
- Fratelli Tutti on Culture and Society, with Kim Daniels & Heidi Schlumpf on May 5
- Fratelli Tutti on Racism and Anti-Racism, with Olga Segura & Ralph McCloud on May 19
- Fratelli Tutti on Economics, with Anthony Annett & Meghan Clark on May 26
- Fratelli Tutti on Governance and Politics, with Amy Uelmann & David Cloutier on June 16
Each webinar will begin at 7:00pm ET (4:00pm PT) and last for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Please click here to register individually for each of these rich discussions with some of America’s foremost experts on the importance of this incredible encyclical from Pope Francis. Catholic Climate Covenant is one of the proud sponsors of the series.
*TONIGHT* Georgetown/USCCB Gathering on "Young and Latino Leaders on Immigration": This urgent USCCB and Georgetown gathering on May 4 at 7 p.m. Eastern will bring together young, diverse leaders from the border, on policy, in the Church, and from the immigrant community at a time of conflict and crises on U.S. policies toward immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. The Biden administration is challenged by growing numbers of families and young people coming to the U.S. southern border – a phenomenon that intersects with climate change – and has been slow to raise the historically low cap of 15,000 refugee admissions set by the previous administration. This gathering will explore the issue and what Catholic and Latino leaders do to help inspired Gospel and Catholic social teaching. RSVP here.
*TOMORROW* Webinar on The Return of Pawnee Corn- Abounding from the Brink of Seed Extinction to New Challenge: In preparation for Laudato Si' Week, Global Catholic Climate Movement invites you to join them for a three part series on Sustainable Food Systems, Food Justice, Climate Change and its impacts on Agriculture. For part I of the series, we will learn about how the Pawnee's Sacred Corn Seeds were on the brink of extinction and how they have arisen to new challenges, on Wednesday May 5th at 1 p.m. Eastern. Register here.
USCCB chairmen support the “Trillion Trees Act”: The chairmen of the U.S. bishops’ committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development and International Justice and Peace sent a letter to congress supporting the bipartisan effort to promote natural carbon sequestration while protecting old growth forests and ecosystems. Read the full letter and learn how the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is supporting work for environmental justice.
A Catholic High School Conversation on Laudato Si’: Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, AZ, recently hosted a climate change awareness meeting with Bishop Edward Weisenburger, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, and an extensive list of experts to discuss Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ and how their community can contribute to building a more sustainable planet where all can flourish. Watch the conversation here.
Gonzaga’s New Climate Center Opens: Gonzaga University formally launched its Center for Climate, Society and the Environment on Earth Day 2021. The center provides resources and opportunities to students, faculty, community members, and leaders in the inland northwest to meet the unprecedented challenges facing humanity and the wider natural environment in the 21st century. Such a vision is central to the university’s identity as a Jesuit institution of higher learning. As Pope Francis writes, “All Christian communities have an important role to play in ecological education.” Dr. Brian G. Henning is the inaugural director and founder of center. Originally from Boise, Idaho, Dr. Henning joined Gonzaga’s faculty in 2008 and is a Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Environmental Studies.
2021 Walk for our Grandchildren in June: An interfaith group of seniors (and youth) are putting together a "Walk for our grandchildren" to walk from Scranton, PA, to Wilmington, DE, from June 20-June 27. The idea is to call attention to and advocate for climate care with the East Coast walk, and along the way they will meet with community groups, activists, journalists, and others committed to keeping fossil fuels in the ground and embracing renewable energy. Catholics are helping organize the walk, but they welcome people of all generations, faiths, and cultures to walk the entire route, or any part of it, for a few hours or for the entire route. For more information contact Steven Norris, 828-777-7816.
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