Rich cause climate change, poor pay for it: Vatican official

Water melting in the Aletsch Glacier, Swiss Alps (CNS/Denis Balibouse, Reuters)

Taking care of the planet is ultimately about justice for the poor and about loving one’s neighbour as one’s self, a Vatican official said yesterday. Source: CNA.

Fr Joshtrom Kureethadam said “we need to care for creation because poor people are all being affected by [changes in climate]”.

“And it is really Catholic tradition, Christian tradition, that in the poor we see Christ. Matthew 25:35 onwards [says]: I was hungry, I was naked, I was in prison, I was a foreigner and you welcomed me,” he said.

Fr Kureethadam has been coordinator of the “ecology and creation” sector at the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development since 2017. He is a university professor and the author of multiple books on creation and theology.

He said that in the West, the effects of climate change are not really noticed, and might just bring something like a flood or hurricane once in a while, while in other places the effects are already very grave.

“We don’t really understand climate change because we don’t live with it. But for the majority of people it’s already a reality,” he explained.

“If we really love our neighbour – the second of the two great commandments: love God with all your heart and your neighbour as yourself – we have to be concerned about this.”

He said another reason Catholics should pay attention to climate change is because it is a question of justice.

Poorer countries are disproportionately affected by climate change, while it is wealthier nations that are emitting the major part of greenhouse gases. “It’s caused mainly by the rich world, but it’s being paid for by the poor.”

So, it takes on an ethical dimension, he said. “If we really want to practice justice, we have to change our lifestyle, question our lifestyle.”

“We don’t really realise the game we are playing, the risks we are taking,” he argued. “And not the risks we are taking in the abstract, the risks we are taking for our own children, for their children.”

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Love for neighbour includes care for the planet, Vatican official says (CNA)

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