It has been a year since Pope Francis published his encyclical, entitled “Laudato Si’, on Care for our Common Home.” His theological message, written with hope and resolve, brought Catholics together to call to dialogue and look at how the earth is being mistreated. His letter asking us to care for God’s creation has become a crucial dimension of Catholic Social Teaching and has instigated global activity to combat climate change.
His letter’s greatest impact, on the international scene, came at the Paris climate talks in December 2015. Many Catholics joined other Christians on pilgrimages to Paris ahead of the talks to put pressure on leaders of the nations in attendance.
CAFOD supporter Georgia White from Leicester travelled to the Paris with 20 other CAFOD supporters and staff. She notes how, “it was important that our delegation attended the conference so that we could pray and campaign for those who are most affected by climate change. It was also an opportunity to play an active part in witnessing the church’s commitment to social justice.”
She agrees that, “The Papal Encyclical is a worldwide wake-up call that helps humanity to understand the destruction that we are causing to the environment. Above all else, it is a challenge, to believers and non-believers alike, to do something in the face of climate change.”
On a diocesan level, many parishes and schools have undertaken their own encyclical implementation efforts. In the Hexham and Newcastle diocese, parishes have been going greener to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation to “work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us.”
CAFOD representative in Hexham and Newcastle, Jeremy Cain, said: “It’s good to know the Pope sees the world the same way that we do. I’m inspired by the way he shows us the links between people and the environment from both a physical and spiritual perspective. We are so grateful for all that parishes and schools are doing to put the Pope’s message into action.”
Written by CAFOD’s Katherine Binns