I was recently revisiting Let Us Dream, Pope Francis's recent-ish book on the possibility of emerging from crisis with grace. Though the book takes the crisis of the pandemic as its jumping off point, it's no surprise that I found myself thinking over and over again of the ecological crisis as I reflected on Pope Francis's words. The book's pages are a mess of underlines now, but there's one line I keep going back to:
"Sin is a rejection of the limits that love requires."
What a beautiful notion of sin, this concept that is so often privatized and drenched in shame and oppression. We all know that love demands limits. When we love someone, we have to compromise. We have to work to find a balance where both parties' needs can be met, and this takes vulnerable conversation, generous imagination, and the wisdom of discernment. To operate with disregard for someone else's needs in the context of our private relationships would amount to narcissism, sociopathy, and yet so often this is how we function as collectives. For centuries now, increasing numbers of the human family have been operating with collective disregard not only for the needs of our fellow creatures but also for the limits of the life-sustaining systems of this planet. We see the repercussions in the large-scale and snowballing deterioration of our life systems, with the greatest impacts on communities of color, low-income communities, and the Global South.
As Lent approaches, I find myself wondering how I can better live in harmony with the limits that love requires—how I can have a smaller footprint when it comes to emissions and a larger one when it comes to love, to action for the common good. And for those times when I have rejected the limits that love requires, may I learn from my mistakes and do otherwise. May my actions not destroy, but create.
Director of Youth and Young Adult Mobilization, Catholic Climate Covenant
Community Organizing in a Church That Listens
Catholic Climate Covenant made an appearance this past weekend at the Archdiocese of Seattle's young adult summit, "A Church That Goes Out." Anna Robertson, Director of Youth and Young Adult Mobilization at the Covenant, presented a workshop on faith-based community organizing alongside Anna Johnson (Maryknoll) and Annie Fox (Jesuits West). The day also included a keynote address on synodality from Brenda Noriega, doctoral student in Theology and Education at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, along with time for Eucharistic Adoration and a synodal listening session.
Action Alert: Ask Congress to support families and protect our common home
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services are urging Catholics to contact their congressional Representatives and ask them to pass a 2022 budget that, as Pope Francis has said, “places human dignity and the common good at the center.”
First, USCCB is asking for support for the Child Tax Credit: “Last year, more than 36 million families received a monthly payment through the expanded Child Tax Credit, which lifted 3.8 million children above the poverty line. The U.S. Bishops are asking Congress to extend the expanded Child Tax Credit, ensuring it remains fully refundable so that it is available to the lowest income families and that it continues to include mixed-status families.” The USCCB’s ask also encourages Catholics to ask their Representatives to advance climate investment policies that will help protect our common home: “For this reason, USCCB encourages Congress to advance climate investment policies that will help protect our common home, including tax incentives to support existing and emerging technologies in clean energy, resilience investments focused on protecting low-income and minority communities, and incentives to decarbonize the economy.” Read more and support here.
Catholic Relief Services also reminds us that the spread of COVID-19 makes people who are hungry and malnourished even more vulnerable to poverty, disease, disaster and related deaths. CRS urges Catholics to lift our voices by contacting their congressional representatives and asking them to protect poverty-reducing international assistance in the fiscal year 2022 budget. Read more and support here.
Young Adult Conversation with Christina Leaño
As a follow-up to Christina Leaño's keynote address on mindfulness in January, young adults are invited to join Christina for an intimate follow-up conversation next Monday, February 21 where we will delve into mindfulness as it is related to climate justice through discussion, activities, and prayer.
Living Room Conversations with Catholic Climate Covenant
Each month, we'll be hosting intimate conversations with folks across the U.S. Catholic community to hear about your priorities and hopes for the Covenant. The next on is Thursday, February 24. Spots are limited, so if a session is full, stay tuned for next month!
Chicago Young Adult Integral Ecology Retreat
Young adults (18-39) in and around Chicago are invited to join the Archdiocese of Chicago and Catholic Climate Covenant for a retreat getaway focused on integral ecology and creation care, April 29-May 1. Learn about the Archdiocese of Chicago’s efforts to implement the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and find out how you can be involved in making history in your community.
In case you missed it...
It's been a busy few months for our young adult community at Catholic Climate Covenant, with abundant opportunities to deepen our ecospirituality and to expand our toolkit of working for creation care and climate action. Couldn't make it to one of our programs? Check out the recordings below from two of this past month's events, and you can always explore our YouTube channel for more great video resources.
Share your #CatholicClimateShelfie and win!
Over on our Instagram, we've launched a monthly photo contest! This month, we are asking for photo submissions of your #CatholicClimateShelfie. Show us 3-5 books that inspire you, motivate you, or teach you about Catholic climate action or care for creation. At the end of the month, we will choose THREE winners to receive $25 dollar gift cards to Bookshop.org. To enter, post your #CatholicClimateShelfie on Instagram and tag us @catholic.climate.covenant.
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