As a self-righteous young(ish) man, I remember storming out of my parents’ home with my first child and wife in tow after a very heated political argument with my dad. I was so angry, I was shaking as we drove the hour back to our house. I called him that same night to apologize for my language and my temper. From that day forward, we agreed to not talk politics.
That heavy, sick feeling came to me again as I watched the presidential debate. It seems that too many of us, including our political leaders, have lost the ability to have thoughtful conversations where we try to persuade instead of brow-beat one another.
As we enter the last legs of this election season, many of us may feel the weight of the decisions facing our nation, the state of the world, the callousness towards “the other,” and the ever-looming pandemic.
In the midst of this, the Covenant tried to bring back some civility and hope into our political discernment process by offering a Season of Creation Webinar Series, On the Common Good and Our Common Home. I invite you to watch the recorded sessions that together lay out the Catholic moral foundation for discerning our vote and why our engagement matters.
We hope these efforts are an inspiration and a starting point for how we show up as Catholics, act in solidarity, protect our common home, and make real progress in healing our nation and our world. We can rebuild a better world together.
Dan Dan Misleh Founding Executive Director Catholic Climate Covenant
Action of the Month
Join the Movement to Pledge to Vote with Love in Action!
Take the pledge to vote with Catholic love in action. Join thousands of other people of faith who have pledged to vote with love in action through ours and our partners' efforts.
Inspired by Catholic Social Teaching, "I pledge to vote with love in action in mind so as to protect life, respect human dignity, and promote the common good, including God's gift of creation."
Recordings Now Available for the Season of Creation Webinar Series: “On the Common Good & Our Common Home”
During this year’s Season of Creation, Catholic Climate Covenant hosted a webinar series, “On the Common Good & Our Common Home,” for U.S. Catholics to understand how Catholic social teaching and creation care are essential to living the fullness of Catholic faith; to facilitate courageous conversations about climate change and Catholic civic participation; and to apply Catholic Social Teaching and creation care to form one’s conscience ahead of the 2020 elections. The first four webinars in the series are now available to watch.
This webinar is Part 4 in the Covenant’s Season of Creation webinar series. The program is framed through St. Francis’ famous prayer, the Canticle of Creatures, which he wrote while in the midst of great suffering, to help illuminate our current journey from the pandemic, from indifference to climate change, and from political partisanship, to a place of healing through God, with each other and with Creation. The program contains prayers, readings, a short video and suggested activities, and ends by offering ways to act.
Catholic Energies and Virginia Parishes in the News
Who has the ‘greenest’ Catholic diocese in the U.S? Maybe Virginia, wrote reporter Erika Rasmussen in America Magazine last week, highlighting the high number of Virginia parishes that have embraced renewable energy, from Hampton to Arlington and many citis in between and across the state. This includes solar conversions by Immaculate Conception in Hampton, Va., with Rev. John Grace, and Sacred Heart in Danville, Va., with Rev. John Goertz.
Both pastors were grateful for the help of the Catholic Climate Covenant and Catholic Energies, help that makes such transitions as easy as possible for parishes. “If we were going to embark on this project alone, it would be so intimidating just to get started that we would never have had the ability to do it,” Father Goertz said. “There’s so much technical expertise that goes into this.”
The Covenant continues its Hope for Creation virtual initiative in these challenging days to uplift each other with prayers, meditations, stories, essays, statements, reflections, art, poems, songs, photos, videos, etc.tocelebrate creation, and each other. Share the Hope for Creation initiative with friends, school, or your parish. It continues throughout Laudato Si’Year, through May 24, 2021.
(Art credit: Mother Earth Brother Wolf Sister Moon on Mixed media by Susana Escayola)
Dan Misleh featured on Podcasts from the Future
Listen to Covenant Director Dan Misleh discuss what difference Americans are making in addressing the climate crisis, on Podcasts From the Future. This episode is part of a series from the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development’s COVID-19 Commission, created by Pope Francis. The podcast series explores how the commission is addressing the challenges of the pandemic. Listen here: bit.ly/3eCPBoj
Climate Change Discussed in First Presidential Debtae
Unexpected climate question in debate spurs unsurprising responses, wrote National Catholic Reporter climate editor Barbara Fraser, about a question on climate change during the first presidential debate.
“I was certainly glad it was asked, because I do think it's a very important to be addressed, not just for this election, but going forward,” Dan Misleh, executive director of Catholic Climate Covenant, said of the question. “Scientists are telling us we need to get a handle on climate change or the planet is going to be in serious trouble, which obviously impacts people.”
Trump called the Paris Agreement a “disaster” for the U.S. and said the regulations were too costly, Fraser wrote. And Biden's plan refers to climate change as a “climate emergency” and proposes a complete shift to a clean-energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050. Misleh noted that one thing “conspicuously absent” from both the candidates' responses and Biden's climate plan is a price on carbon.
On Sunday in Assisi, Italy, Pope Francis signed his newest encyclical, "Fratelli Tutti." It is a powerful and comprehensive document urging a renewed effort to promote global solidarity and global action for the entire human family. Like Laudato Si'. We urge you to read the entire text here.
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement welcoming the new encyclical.
John Carr of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University provides a thoughtful summary here, raising 12 key themes of the encyclical.
There is a national response to violence against Black Americans in our country and communities in a way previously unseen in a generation. This national reckoning with systemic racism includes climate and environmental justice. At the same time, more young Catholics have also begun to engage in difficult conversations about the history and present reality of racism in the U.S. Catholic Church. This Salt and Light Gathering for young adults under 40 brings together a panel of young Black Catholic leaders to engage challenging questions about the spiritual and practical actions needed to work towards a culture of anti-racism, which values the equal dignity of every human life.
Voting is an Act of Love
Ignatian Solidarity Network’s Voting is an Act of Love campaign continues. “Love ought to show itself in deeds more than in words.” These powerful words from St. Ignatius of Loyola remind us that casting a ballot can be an act of love—a way to live out the greatest commandments, to love and serve God and to love our neighbor. This resource can especially help you check your voting registration status and register to vote. Remember to plan ahead:voter registration and absentee ballot requests must happen before election day—in some states, weeks before the Nov. 3 election.
Greta Thunberg to speak at 10th Annual Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture, part of interfaith climate change events this season
As we close out this year’s Season of Creation, the Anglican-sponsored “Climate Justice Globally: Now and for the Future” will feature 23-year-old Vanessa Nakate, a Ugandan climate activist, and internationally-known Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg for the 10th Annual Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture on October 7th. The lecture is part of the interfaith climate change event this season, and also features international climate leader Christiana Figueres.
Creation must be protected, not exploited, Pope says at audience
Departing from his prepared remarks at his weekly general audience on Sept. 16th, Pope Francis warned that those who are incapable of contemplating nature and creation are often incapable of contemplating their fellow human beings. “Those who live to exploit nature, end up exploiting people and treating them like slaves,” the pope said. “This is a universal law: if you do not know how to contemplate nature, it will be very difficult for you to contemplate people, the beauty of people, your brother, your sister.”
Africa Faith & Justice Network seeks Executive Director
Under the leadership of Fr. Aniedi Okure OP, the outgoing Executive Director, the Africa Faith & Justice Network broke new ground to become a leading voice for Africa and her people as they strive to build a just society and promote the common good. As a faith-based organization inspired by the values of the Gospels and the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church in Washington, DC, AFJN holds a unique position to influence and reclaim the debate on a continent that has been long exploited and misrepresented. The organization is looking for someone who is well equipped to champion this cause.
Thank you for joining the Covenant and all of our partners in celebrating this Season of Creation! Please visit https://seasonofcreation.org/events/ to find more national and global events still going on as we close out this season.
Catholic Climate Covenant provides all its programs and resources free of charge. We rely on the generosity of our supporters to inspire and equip people and institutions to care for creation and care for the poor. Through our 19 national partners, we guide the U.S. Church's response to climate change by educating, giving public witness, and offering resources. Thank you for giving to care for creation and care for the poor.
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