Local MP, Helen Goodman, member for Bishop Auckland, led a debate in the House of Commons last Thursday in the run up to the Climate Change Conference in Paris.
It was good to hear a papal encyclical being used to stimulate a debate that is of both national and global significance. As one of the participants noted, Laudato Si’ is “very subtle, very profound and very long” and yet it provided food for thought for MPs from a variety of political and religious persuasions, including former party leaders Ed Milliband and Caroline Lucas.
In introducing the debate, Helen Goodman underlined the urgency of the issue in terms with which it was hard to argue: “Let us be clear: people in the deserts of Africa and those affected by the floods of Bangladesh are already dying as a result of climate change.”
So, there can be no doubt that we are facing a crisis but, of course, there are a variety of opinions about how this should be tackled. However, Pope Francis cuts through the political rhetoric to grasp the heart of the matter when he calls on politicians to change the “established structures of power which today govern societies” recognising that “the climate is a common good.”
Our hope is that the upcoming climate conference in Paris will be an important step is making this aspiration a reality. Please support CAFOD’s campaign to do this by signing our petition and following CAFOD’s coverage of the build up; and, as always, your prayers will be essential.
If you would like to engage with Laudato Si’ more deeply, CAFOD have produced a simple study guide to download for individual and group reflection.
Congratulations are due to Helen Goodman for not only securing a debate on an issue of great importance but also in providing us with an excellent summary of Laudato Si’!