Protect the Poor While Caring for God’s Creation
April 22nd, 2009
This unprecedented initiative asks Catholics “Who Is Under Your Carbon Footprint?”
The Catholic Climate Covenant asks the nation’s 65 million Catholics to connect their religious values with care for the Earth, to learn how climate change affects poverty-stricken regions, and to lobby legislators on behalf of the poor.
The “heart of the effort” is the new St. Francis Pledge, which asks Catholics to pray, learn, assess, act and advocate on climate change. The pledge was sent to the nation’s 17,000 Catholic parishes and 6,300 elementary schools.
Most Reverend William S. Skylstad, Bishop of Spokane and former head of the USCCB, is Honorary Chairman of the Catholic Climate Covenant. In a letter encouraging all to take the St. Francis Pledge, Bishop Skylstad said, “This unprecedented initiative offers Catholics a concrete way to live out our faith by caring for God’s Creation and the “least of these” in response to the challenges of global climate change.”
The Bishop added, “Pope Benedict XVI is leading these efforts: ‘Our earth speaks to us, and we must listen if we want to survive.’ This Catholic Climate Covenant brings together our Catholic commitments to care for God’s Creation and for vulnerable people at home and abroad. They face the worst impacts yet they contribute least to climate change. Sadly, they are likely to suffer the most from its consequences and have the least capacity and resources to respond.”
The 12-member Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, which is spearheading the effort, includes the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops, LCWR, CMSM, Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
The Oblate JPIC Office has joined with other faith groups in highlighting the impact of climate change on the poor in representations to Congress. The statements argue that those who are most vulnerable to climate change, both here and abroad, should be protected. Often, they are the least responsible for creating the problem and the least able to adapt to changing climactic conditions.