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Faith groups are mobilizing on climate change, seeing it as an existential threat to creation. Pope Francis will issue a papal encyclical on the environment this summer, which is expected to highlight both the need to reduce man-made carbon emissions, and for wealthy countries to help poorer nations deal with it, as they have done little to create the problem.
Meanwhile, the Church of England is putting its pounds and pence where its mouth is: The body that administers the worldwide Anglican Communion last week announced it is divesting from thermal coal and tar sands.
Islamic finance has played a major role in clean energy investment so far this decade.
Divestment from these most carbon intensive forms of energy is also good financial management. With pressure growing both from businesses concerned about how to operate in a world disrupted by climate change, and increasingly vocal popular movements, a price on carbon to discourage its use, is becoming more likely. Alongside this is the fact that renewable forms of energy – wind, solar, geothermal, and the like, are increasingly cost competitive. If the damages to health and the climate were factored into the price of carbon fuels, renewables would already be a clear winner.
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Citing a papal directive to take decisive action on climate change, the Global Catholic Climate Movement has started a petition which seeks to display “a strong Catholic voice” of concern on climate change ahead of international negotiations set for Paris in December.
“Climate change affects everyone, but especially the poor and most vulnerable people. Impelled by our Catholic faith, we call on you to drastically cut carbon emissions to keep the global temperature rise below the dangerous threshold of 1.5°C, and to aid the world’s poorest in coping with climate change impacts,” reads the petition, accessible on the movement’s recently revamped website.
In a message delivered toward the end of the last climate negotiations in Lima, Peru, the pope said that decisive climate action “is a grave ethical and moral responsibility,” and warned that there exists “a clear, definitive and unpostponable ethical imperative to act.”
Part of being Christian is Protecting the Environment February 12th, 2015
According to Pope Francis, protecting the environment is part of a Christian’s identity, not an ideological option. “A Christian who does not protect creation, who does not let it grow, is a Christian who does not care about the work of God; that work that was born from the love of God for us,” the Pope added. “And this is the first response to the first creation: protect creation, make it grow.”
Pope Francis Takes Strong Action to End Slavery December 3rd, 2014
VATICAN CITY As Pope Francis and leaders of other churches and religions signed a declaration pledging to work together to help end modern slavery in the world by 2020, he urged governments, businesses and all people of good will to join forces against this “crime against humanity.”
Tens of millions of people are “in chains” because of human trafficking and forced labor, and it is leading to their “dehumanization and humiliation,” the pope said at the ceremony Dec. 2, the U.N. Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
Every human person is born with the same dignity and freedom, and any form of discrimination that does not respect this truth “is a crime and very often an abhorrent crime,” the pope said.
Inspired by their religious beliefs and a desire “to take practical action,” the pope and 11 leaders representing the Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox, Anglican, Buddhist and Hindu faiths made a united commitment to help eradicate slavery worldwide.
Read the full article at National Catholic Reporter online
And here is something to put on your calendar:
February 8th, 2015
National Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking
On February 8th, 2015 the USCCB will observe the National Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking. February 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. Once Josephine was freed, she dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering.
Last February, Catholics throughout the country observed the national day of prayer through Masses, prayer vigils, and other events to raise awareness about human trafficking in their parishes and communities. This coming February, we encourage you to do the same. Through prayer, we not only reflect on the experiences of those that have suffered through this affront to human dignity, but also comfort, strengthen, and help empower survivors.
Please visit www.usccb.org/shepherd to download prayers, intercessions, a toolkit and other resources to help you host a human trafficking event locally. Visit www.usccb.org/stopslavery for more information about human trafficking and to download flyers for the National Day of Prayer including a Mass that will be held on Sunday, February 8th at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.
In the words of our Holy Father Pope Francis, may we be “slaves no more, but brothers and sisters.”
Slaves No More… December 1st, 2014
On January 1st 2015, Pope Francis will commemorate the World Day of Peace with the theme “Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters.” In alignment with this message for the new year, the Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking invites you to join in efforts to eliminate the scourge of human trafficking by making a personal commitment in 2015 to resolve to fight human trafficking. Click here to find out more and commit to the resolutions today.
Popular Movements Meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican November 20th, 2014“I accompany you with my heart on this journey. Let us say together from our heart: no family without a dwelling, no rural workers without land, no worker without rights, no person without the dignity that work gives.” —Pope Francis
Pope Francis called a meeting at the Vatican of Popular Movements in late October.
In his address, Pope Francis invited the assembly to be in solidarity with each other and the church. “Solidarity.” He said, “means much more than some acts of sporadic generosity. It is to think and to act in terms of community, of the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few. It is also to fight against the structural causes of poverty, inequality, lack of work, land and housing, the denial of social and labor rights. It is to confront the destructive effects of the empire of money: forced displacements, painful emigrations, the traffic of persons, drugs, war, violence and all those realities that many of you differ and that we are all called to transform.”
Read an account of the session: World Meeting of Popular Movements, Oct. 2014
- Speech of Pope Francis (English, unofficial translation) Spanish
- 15-Point Declaration (English, unofficial translation) Spanish