Ahead of the meeting of world leaders at the COP26 UN climate summit, Cardinal Vincent has written to the Prime Minister to express the hopes of the Catholic community in England and Wales.
Describing the global ecological crisis as 'a dark cloud over humanity', he emphasises that the Catholic faith 'calls us to care for our common home with all people of good will'.
Whilst assuring the Prime Minster of prayers for a successful summit, the Cardinal points out how Catholic parishes, schools and dioceses are meeting the environmental challenges head-on, stressing that whilst the crisis is human-made, so too are its solutions.
He also asks the Prime Minister to pursue three key actions:
- Support poorer and more vulnerable communities in the face of the devastating effects of climate change,
- Take a lead in international efforts to develop and champion green energy solutions,
- Do all he can to lead partnership between all nations in reducing harmful emissions and in keeping global warming to its stated goals.
The urgency of the global ecological crisis and the teaching of our Catholic faith implores us as a Church to work to cultivate care for our common home with all people of good will. Both Pope Benedict and more recently Pope Francis have spoken out on our responsibility to care for creation.
In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis encourages us to approach this 'dark cloud' with a 'renewed hope' and a fraternity grounded in the 'reserves of goodness present in the human hearts' and not from a position of 'isolation and withdrawal into one’s own interests'.
In Laudato Si’ he points out that 'we are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis that is both social and environmental' (LS 139).
We cannot, as the Pope reminds us, 'pretend to be healthy in a world that is sick' because the wounds inflicted on the planet 'are wounds that also bleed into us' (Letter to the President of Colombia on World Environment Day, 5th June 2020).
Restoring a harmonious relationship with nature is the crux of the climate challenge that faces us, and this must begin with 'acknowledging that every living being has intrinsic value and purpose and, as such much be cherished' (Archbishop Gallagher Statement at the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity, 30th September 2020).
Such an approach places interrelated demands on each of us to respond, from world leaders to the youngest amongst us. Within our own diocese, our parishes and schools have been running a number of excellent projects and initiatives that demonstrate this response.