A Reflection by Dan Misleh on the Joint Message from Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew
For the World Day of Prayer for Creation
As victims in south-central United States and southern Asia deal with unprecedented flooding, Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew encourage us to set aside a time to pray today for God’s good gift of Creation. Marking the World Day of Prayer for Creation, they also challenge “those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized.”
Catholic Climate Covenant joins with these global spiritual leaders calling all to renew their commitment to healing the core relationships—with God, with one another, and with the earth—and help save the planet from our own carelessness and sin. We also acknowledge with them that “the human and natural environment are deteriorating together” and this deterioration impacts poor and vulnerable communities the most—again, witness what is happening in Texas and south Asia.
Solidarity with current and future generations demands individual, local, national and global responses to a warming planet. In the United States, we join with the U.S. bishops, with women and men religious communities, and with other prophetic voices to urge the current administration to reverse the path they are on: gutting environmental regulations and reversing gains made through global agreements such as the Paris Accord.
Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew seem to have the Paris agreement in mind when they urge leaders to “respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation.” They add that this response must be “concerted and collective…[and] the responsibility [must be] shared and accountable.”
For its part, Catholic Climate Covenant, which includes 16 national Catholic partners, will continue to encourage all Catholics—from those in the pews to those in positions of greater authority—to live up to the challenges of Laudato Si’ and the demands of our faith. Through our networks and our tens of thousands of supporters, we will:
- encourage wider use of our educational materials including our 2017 Feast of St. Francis program
- encourage more bishops to form their pastors to become Laudato Si’ leaders through our pastoral training program
- urge more facilities directors to deploy our Catholic Covenant Energies program, and
- collectively challenge lawmakers to take climate change seriously by designing wise policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, grow our economy and protect the poor and vulnerable from the ravages of environmental impacts.
On this Day of Prayer for Creation, please join with us to pray for a conversion of hearts—our own and the collective heart of our society—so that we may hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. Pray that we become mindful of future generations by living more simply and more in harmony with a finite planet.