• Catholic Church Organisations Follow Pope’s Example on Climate Change

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Catholic Church Organisations Follow Pope’s Example on Climate Change

Aug 06 2015

A union of 17 Catholic organisations around the world followed the example of Pope Francis by urging their followers to alter their lifestyles in order to lead more environmentally-friendly lives.

CIDSE, an alliance of organisations from all over Europe and North America, has launched a campaign urging people to reduce their reliance on fossil fuel energies, curb their meat-intake and purchase from organic, locally-grown sources, among a string of other directives.

The announcement came just days after the release of Pope Francis' encyclical which focused heavily on climate change and laid the blame for the world’s predicament firmly at the feet of rich nations.

A Collective Effort

Secretary General of CIDSE Bernd Nilles stressed that each one of us was responsible for our own actions and that together, we could tackle the growing environmental problems facing the world. “We believe that collective and individual changes are crucial to respond to the urgency we face through climate change, environmental degradation and the consequence they have on people’s lives,” said Nilles.

The campaign is to span three years and will use the power of social media and counselling workshops to help people re-evaluate the priorities in their daily habits and make better life choices. This includes cutting down on our consumption of meat, buying sustainable produce, using public transport and easing up on energy use.

Pope Eco-Warrior?

The Pope’s uncompromising encyclical did not disappoint from what had been anticipated in the weeks running up to its release. Back in May, he warned environmental sinners that they would be judged by God if they failed to mend the error of their ways and look after the sick and hungry in the world.

He has also signalled an intention to speak before the UN in September, yet his encyclical is his strongest show of support for environmentalists to date. “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods,” the papal document said. “It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”

The Pope has drawn some criticism from big businesses and conservative politicians in the USA, who have suggested that religion and politics (at least as they see it) should not intertwine. Cardinal Peter Turkson, who is the Pope’s chief on justice and social issues, rebutted comments made by politicians such as Jed Bush. “Saying that a pope shouldn’t deal with science sounds strange since science is a public domain. It is a subject matter that anyone can get in to,” said the Cardinal.

Whereas before the encyclical’s release there could have been some confusion or room for interpretation over the Church’s view of climate change, there can be no mistake now. The Pope has made being green not only acceptable to the Church, but actually compulsory – and the actions of CIDSE show that his approach has been welcomed whole-heartedly by Catholic organisations. While CIDSE may have fallen into line with official policy, it remains to be seen whether the 1.2 billion Catholics across the world will do the same.

Image Source: Martin Schulz  

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