The Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) welcome the Holy Father’s call to embrace our moral responsibility to care for all of God’s creation. Men and women religious have a long history of standing with those most in need; today that includes those who suffer the consequences of environmental degradation and the destruction of God’s creation. Executive Director of CMSM, John Pavlik, OFM Cap., said, “We wholeheartedly support Pope Francis’ encyclical on integral ecology and the urgent implications for addressing climate change. This is a matter of faith in the God of all Creation who calls us to love, respect and walk humbly with all of creation.”
According to USA Today, Pope Francis uses poetry, accessible prose and a steady stream of stern recriminations to urge humankind onto a path of survival in more than 180 pages of environmental encyclical released Thursday. Echoing Jesuit roots in education, Francis urges the teaching of environmental responsibility – avoiding the use of plastic or paper, reducing water use, separating refuse, using public transport, car-pooling, turning off unnecessary light or planting a tree. He says, “The use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay. Solar power should be more thoroughly embraced.”
The Pope warns against living in denial, indifference, and nonchalant resignation that technology will eventually solve everything. Solutions require a new dialogue and in his words, “a bold cultural revolution.” He quickly makes short-shrift of denier claims: “Very solid scientific consensus confirms global warming and rising seas, and extreme weather events are likely results. A number of scientific studies show human-generated greenhouse gases are mostly to blame.” I encourage all of us to take heed of Pope Francis’ message. Let’s make his encyclical come alive in our lives to make a difference for the good of the earth.
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.