FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Elena Gaona, 202-907-9717
Wednesday, October 4, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Catholic Climate Covenant applauds Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum released today that emphasizes the severity and depth of our climate crisis, and the need for immediate and bold action to care for our common home. The Pope’s message underscores the timely and intrinsic link between our Catholic faith and the moral imperative to protect our common home and all people and creatures today and tomorrow.
“Eight years ago, Pope Francis rang a clear alarm bell for humanity to wake up and protect our common home. Instead, many of us pushed the snooze button. As this summer has shown, and as Laudate Deum emphasizes, we no longer have time to spare,” said Jose Aguto, executive director of Catholic Climate Covenant. “Either we wake up now, or we will doom our Common Home, our Earth, its most vulnerable inhabitants, and all future generations. For people of faith, this apostolic exhortation reminds us that to praise God we must honor his creation and give hope to the future.”
Driven by faith, facts on the ground, and clear science, Pope Francis’ exhortation urges us to look at what has happened to our planet and acknowledge what we need to do now to fix it. Laudate Deum is a direct, unsparing and immediate call to action by all Catholics and all people of goodwill, beginning by recognizing the urgency of the climate crisis and its devastating impact on God’s creation and the most vulnerable among us. The Pope’s message is clear throughout the document: our faith demands that we act now to protect our common home, and the dignity and life of all humanity and creation within it.
“What is being asked of us is nothing other than a certain responsibility for the legacy we will leave behind, once we pass from this world”. (LD 18)
Catholic Climate Covenant is particularly moved by Pope Francis’ direct focus on the ever-worsening effects and proof of a global climate crisis. As a global crisis—and with Pope Francis’ clear indication that while individual and sub-international groups (communities, businesses and nations) are important, needed and helpful—ultimately the crisis demands a global response.
The timeliness of calling for action ahead of COP28 indicates the Holy Father is praying for a change of heart that will move world leaders to act collaboratively as they have been called to do so for decades, and enact the urgent climate solutions that may not be easy, but are undoubtedly needed, especially a real, rapid and just energy transition away from fossil fuels. All must commit to rapid development and deployment of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and other sources. Adding more greenhouse gas emissions to our warming climate will only lead to greater disaster.
“ If there is sincere interest in making COP28 a historic event that honours and ennobles us as human beings, then one can only hope for binding forms of energy transition that meet three conditions: that they be efficient, obligatory and readily monitored. This, in order to achieve the beginning of a new process marked by three requirements: that it be drastic, intense and count on the commitment of all.” (LD 59)
The Pope’s exhortation rightly addresses again the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis on vulnerable communities, especially those living with poverty. These communities often bear the brunt of environmental catastrophes, and lack the resources to adapt to rapidly changing conditions. They often have to leave their homes which is also leading to a global migration crisis. Catholic Climate Covenant is committed to advocating for policies that protect all communities and ensure vulnerable voices are heard in the climate conversation and solutions.
Catholic Climate Covenant echoes the Holy Father’s call for an adequate and just response to this interconnected and complex crisis of global warming and environmental degradation, which, as we recall from Laudato Si’, is a crisis that is both social and environmental, not simply one or the other. Especially in the wealthiest nations such as our own community here in the United States, we must embrace simpler lifestyles that will allow us to more closely live our faith and accompany and care for others.
“The promotion of the common good, a core tenet of Catholic social doctrine, means that our individual comforts and lifestyle preferences must take a back seat to those who suffer from our neglect and apathy,” said Dan Misleh, founder of Catholic Climate Covenant. “Solidarity means that ‘we are all really responsible for all,’ as St. John Paul II said.”
Pope Francis’ message is a powerful reminder of the values that guide us: respect for the life and dignity of every person, solidarity with the poor and vulnerable, and stewardship of the earth which sustains us all and upon which we are all dependent for our very lives.
“I ask everyone to accompany this pilgrimage of reconciliation with the world that is our home and to help make it more beautiful, because that commitment has to do with our personal dignity and highest values. At the same time, I cannot deny that it is necessary to be honest and recognize that the most effective solutions will not come from individual efforts alone, but above all from major political decisions on the national and international level.” (LD 69)
In response to the Pope’s exhortation, Catholic Climate Covenant renews its commitment to educate, inspire, and mobilize Catholics in the United States to take meaningful action together to address the climate crisis and care for our brothers and sisters. We invite all Catholics and people of goodwill to join us in this urgent mission.
“Together, we can heed Pope Francis’ urgent call to care for our common home and build a more just, sustainable, and hopeful world,” said Jose Aguto.
About Catholic Climate Covenant
Catholic Climate Covenant is a national U.S. nonprofit founded with the support of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2006 that inspires and equips U.S. Catholics and institutions to care for creation together. Through 20 national partners, we guide the U.S. Church’s response to climate change and integral ecology through faith-driven education, advocacy, and resources. www.catholicclimatecovenant.org.