The Philippine Coast Guard rescues residents who were stranded in floods from Typhoon Rai in Cagayan De Oro, Philippines, December 16, 2021. Caritas Philippines appeals to donors to support its emergency response. As of December 21, the storm had claimed more that 370 lives. (CNS Photo/Philippine Coast Guard handout via Reuters
Pope Francis invited Catholics — and anyone else interested — to join a seven-year journey to widen the reach of his 2015 encyclical on the environment in a time of global climate change.
The Laudato Si’ Action platform, also known as the Laudato SI’ Action Platform, was the name of the effort. Launched Nov. 14All dioceses in the world.
The invitation was issued as global communities experienced extreme heat, drought, massive flooding, intense wildfires, rising sea level, and failed crops in 2021.
The pope Introduced the platformIn a video May 25, he encourages people join the global grassroots movement to create an inclusive, fraternal peaceful, and sustainable world.
The platform was coordinated by the Dicastery for Integral Human Development. It is a “journey which will see our communities commit in different ways to becoming completely sustainable, in the spirit integral ecology,” the pope said.
He called for a new ecological approach that can transform how we live in the world, how we live our lives, and how we relate to the resources of the Earth.
The initiative invited individuals, dioceses, and parishes to join forces in a global effort to preserve creation for future generations. The Vatican platform is designed to assist those who wish to increase their commitment in bringing the encyclical to life.Laudato Si’“Care for Our Common Home” to life by committing to live 2028 to a set of actions based on local needs.
Featuring a preface by Pope Francis and a message from the U.N.’s António Guterres, the Vatican published in November this “Laudato Si’ Reader,” with a wide range of reflections on Francis’ 2015 encyclical. (CNS screenshot/Libreria Editrice Vaticana).
At the kickoff, the platform was accepted by 17 dioceses and 56 parishes in the United States. Jose Aguto, executive Director of the Washington-based Catholic Climate Covenant, stated that more were expected.
The platform encourages the integration of actions across multiple sectors, such as universities parishes, diocesan religious orders, religious orders and community organizations, as well as neighborhoods, businesses, and health-care institutions.
“The covenant, the U.S. participation on the Laudato si’ Action Platform is really exciting,” Aguto said Dec. 1. “We look forward to the seven year journey as a great step,” Aguto stated Dec. 1.
The two-week 26th U.N. Conference was the beginning of the effort to create the platform. The Climate Change Conference ended in Glasgow, Scotland. Representatives from more than 200 countries met Oct. 31-Nov. 13, with the aim of reducing global carbon emissions by half by 2030 in order to limit global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius.
COP26, as it was called, was delayed by the pandemic for a year.
A Vatican delegation was present, as well as several Catholic organizations and parishes. Present throughout COP26. Vatican representatives were present at high-level talks while Catholics from other faiths participated in sideline events.
In a video message, representatives of the Vatican urged the conference on financing from wealthy countries to help poorer nations respond to climate change. They also urged them to urgently comply with the Paris Agreement standards.
Africans protest during the Day of Action at U.N. Climate Change Conference, Nov. 6 in Glasgow (Scotland). (CNS/Simon Caldwell)
However, the final agreement was reached. We fell short of these goalsIt was disappointing news for Catholic environmental and developmental advocates. Action to limit temperature rises was delayed to 2022, and wealthy nations failed to provide the necessary climate finance to aid poor countries adapt to climate change.
Although the final agreement failed to deliver on its promises, Christine Allen, director at CAFOD, the Catholic international agency for development in England and Wales that joined the Vatican delegation to Scotland, said that “we are now on the road from where there is no turning back.”
Allen stated, “The level at which people realized that we must act immediately and from all over the world was absolutely there.”
CNS’s Chloe Noel was the coordinator for the Faith Economy Ecology Project of the Washington-based Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. She joined the conference sideline activities on Dec. 2, and said that while the delegates from major fossil-fuel-using countries started to discuss reductions in their consumption, “there is not a clear plan about what that will look like or when it will happen.”
Noel stated that “We need to have more ambition to keep temperature rise to even 2° Celsius, let alone to what it really needs to be, which should be 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
She also called on the richest nations to make a bigger financial commitment to assist developing countries who are already experiencing the negative effects from climate change.
Noel stated that “We will continue, both as the climate movement and as the faith community to push the U.S. government towards addressing loss and damage at COP27.”
COP27 will be held in Egypt on November 20, 2022.
In July, Creighton University and the Catholic Climate Covenant joined forces to organize other events. Convene the second conference of the planned three biennial “Laudato Si’ or the U.S. Catholic Church”.. A series of online courses was attended by more than 2,700 people to learn how to integrate the encyclical’s teachings on climate change into the church’s life.
“We are continuing to grow the Catholic Community (that is) concerned with climate. “We’re seeing steady increases in the number of Catholics being interested,” Aguto told Catholic News Service.
“But we need more voices. Science is becoming more relevant and the divisions within our country are becoming increasingly stark. We need to talk first about love of God and secondly, love of our neighbors. He added that we need to make room for dialogue.
This screen capture shows some of the young adults who participated in the Catholic Climate Covenant’s second biennial conference “Laudato Si’ & the U.S. Catholic Church”, July 13-15, 2021. (CNS Photo/courtesy Catholic Climate Covenant
A global campaign to divest from fossil fuels continued to gain adherents in the fall, with 72 institutions — 36 of them Catholic — announcing days ahead of COP26 that they Will withhold investments from carbon-based energy companies. The institutions hold assets worth $4.2 billion.
Salesian Fr. Joshtrom Kurethadam, coordinator for Ecology and Creation, Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, welcomed this announcement during an Oct. 26 videoconference hosted by leading divestment supporters.
Pope Francis and the Vatican have been merged into one entity: More vocal About shifting investment funds from fossil fuels towards clean energy alternatives. The Vatican issued guidelines in 2020 as part of the Laudato si’ Year for Catholics to implement integral ecology, and other actions outlined by the pope’s Encyclical.
Father Kurethadam said that divestment was strongly recommended, despite the language being used. “Last year, we announced the Laudato si’ Action Platform. Laudato Si’ goals also include ecological economics, and it mentioned the need for divestment. This is why the Vatican supports this journey.
The priest said that while it was a difficult task to reduce the use of polluting fossil fuels, it was possible. Climate scientists have concluded that the burning fossil fuels is a leading cause for climate change.
Two of the most prominent Catholic environmental groups saw significant changes in the past year.
In September, the Catholic Climate Covenant announced that Aguto would become its new executive director. He will succeed Dan Misleh who took over as founder. Misleh founded the organization in 2006, and continues to play an important role in its work in the United States.
The Global Catholic Climate Movement is also available. Known as the Laudato si’ Movement in July.
The leaders of the movement said that the change better reflects both the six-year old worldwide network and its connection for prayerful action on climate change mitigation and protection.
Because it includes the Franciscan phrase, the new name is easy to translate into other languages. Laudato Si’Lorna Gold of Ireland, who chairs this organization’s board, said the following: “praise to you”, which is Italian for “praise have to you”.
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