Taking the Catholic view on Climate Change

Catholic church in Nunavut, Canada.

It is said that the Catholic Church 'thinks in centuries, not in years.' This scale of thinking is precisely what is needed as Pontifical science academies host a conference entitled 'Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility'.

- America magazine

Cimate change is an issue of unusual complexity that requires attention, discipline and international cooperation.

The Church has long been concerned about climate change and its effects on the world's inhabitants.

In the first week of May, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences are sponsoring a conference titled, 'Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility.'

The meeting will look at the intersection of environmental policy and human flourishing. 'Our idea is not to catalogue environmental problems,' the conference organisers write.

'We propose instead to view Humanity's interchanges with Nature through a triplet of fundamental, but inter-related Human needs—Food, Health, and Energy—and...invite experts from the natural and the social sciences to speak of the various pathways that both serve those needs and reveal constraints on Nature's ability to meet them.'

This language may seem too theoretical to those who prefer to focus on rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels. But the Church knows how to take the long view, and its focus on the human factor may help to broaden discussion of environmental policy beyond think tanks and nongovernmental organisations to religious communities.

If world leaders are to undertake the ambitious steps laid out in the I.P.C.C. report, they will need the encouragement and support of people of faith.

According to reports, Pope Francis plans to address the state of the environment in his next encyclical.

Perhaps his unique ability to challenge people in a disarming way will mobilise more people to act. The Pope has spoken eloquently of the 'globalisation of indifference,' and here is an issue, surely, where indifference is our besetting sin.

'The culture of comfort, which makes us think only of ourselves, makes us insensitive to the cries of other people,' the Pope said at Lampedusa.

How much more difficult it is to imagine the cries of people who will suffer 50 or 100 years from now. To address the challenge of climate change will require an extraordinary feat of empathy, to think not only of ourselves but of all God's children, in this generation and in generations to come.

Read full article: The Climate Crisis (America)


Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility (Pontifical Academy of Sciences)

High-tech world is plagued by ethical, economic misery, says cardinal (CNS/The Catholic Sun)

Climate change moves Ethiopian church to address food needs (The Catholic Register)

Pope Francis urged to back fossil fuel divestment campaign (The Guardian)

Pope preparing major statement on ecology, Vatican says (Reuters)

La France, élève moyenne de la lutte contre le CO2 (La Croix)

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