Creation Care News from the Vatican
It’s been a busy month for Pope Francis, as he continues his prophetic ministry to protect our planet. Just yesterday the Vatican helped organize a pre-COP26 climate event in the hopes of raising the stakes in Glasgow next month. World leaders from 20 countries, including Pope Francis, gathered and signed a joint urgent climate appeal and handed it to representatives of the U.N. gathering known as COP26 in Glasgow.
"We have inherited a garden: we must not leave a desert to our children," the faith leaders wrote.
And On September 1, the Holy Father issued a joint message with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who leads the Anglican Communion. “Caring for God’s creation is a spiritual commission requiring a response of commitment,” the message reads. “This is a critical moment. Our children’s future and the future of our common home depend on it.”
Likewise, more than 50 prominent religious leaders from the United Kingdom, including a number of Catholics, have signed the Glasgow Multifaith Declaration. The declaration is directed at political leaders who will attend the U.N. Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in early November.
"To offer hope in the world," the leaders said, "we need to have confidence that those in power understand the vital role they have to play at the Glasgow COP26."
According to National Catholic Reporter, the signatories include Scottish Bishop Brian McGee of Argyll and the Isles; Notre Dame Sister Isabel Smyth; and Bishop John Arnold of Salford, lead bishop for the environment for the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
Meanwhile, the Pope’s Prayer Intentions in September focused on environmentally sustainable lifestyles. “Let us reflect on how the ways in which we eat, consume, travel, or the ways we use water, energy and plastics and many other material goods, is often harmful to the Earth,” Pope Francis prayed. “Let us choose to change! Let us advance with young people toward lifestyles that are simpler and more respectful of the environment.” Watch the whole video here.
The Pope spoke again about the environment later in September when he sent a video message to 400 young people from 197 countries participating in a three-day Youth4Climate meeting in Milan, Italy. According to Vatican News, the Pope told the meeting’s participants that technical and political solutions are not enough to save the planet. “There must be harmony between people, men and women, and the environment. We are not enemies, we are not indifferent. We are part of this cosmic harmony,” the Pope said.
Watch: Young Catholics in Oklahoma on why they care for Creation
Pope Francis has repeatedly said that young Catholics will lead the way on combating climate change. That’s certainly true in Oklahoma, where ThuLan Pham, Olivia Dailey, Dolly Na Yameh and Father Jim Chamberlain of St. Joseph Catholic Church produced an amazing 12-minute video explaining how their Catholic faith inspires them to take on the responsibilities of Laudato Si. “With environmental concerns, there’s a time constraint, says ThuLan Pham in the video, “we have to start working as fast as possible.” Amen!
Electric Vehicle in your future?
Speaking of Pope Francis, did you know he is in line to get one of the first electric vehicles from California-based electric car startup Fisker next year? Yep. The Holy Father will trade in his popemobile for a new model running entirely on battery power. And the Biden Administration said in August that it wants more people to get one. (An electric vehicle, not a Popemobile :) President Biden signed an Executive Order that sets a new target to make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or fuel cell electric vehicles.
Global Synodal Process to Begin
The Pope has also convened a churchwide synod on the themes of communion, participation and mission. The multi-year process will begin in Rome on October 9th, and on October 17th in dioceses around the world. The Pope is asking bishops to solicit input from their parishioners on those themes ahead of a 2023 General Assembly. You can read the preparatory documents here.
One more thing...
While Season of Creation 2021 comes to a close this week, we are left with the prayers and actions of ecological love and care for God’s creation that this season has given us. We hope you downloaded and put to good use our 2021 Feast of St. Francis Program, which can be used any time of the year, and next month Catholics around the world will look to begin our official journey with the Vatican’s Laudato Si’ Action Platform – a seven-year journey we look forward to taking with you!
Meanwhile, join Catholic Climate Covenant and the world as we join in the 40 days of prayer ahead of the launch of the Platform