On March 13th, 2023, the world will celebrate 10 years of Pope Francis leading our global Church. Catholic Climate Covenant joins in this worldwide celebration and is honored and grateful to have in Pope Francis a true champion for Creation.
Pope Francis chose his papal name to honor St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of those who promote ecology. Pope Francis describes “the poor man of Assisi” as “a man of peace, a man of poverty, a man who loved and protected creation” – in other words, a person who embodies integral ecology.
In his landmark encyclical, “Laudato Si’” Pope Francis gave people of goodwill a blueprint to approach a better world – both physical and moral – for all Creation.
He wrote: “I urgently appeal . . . for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.” (no. 14)
While Catholic Climate Covenant was formed in 2006 with the support of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Pope Francis’ ecological leadership offered a significant boost to our efforts in the U.S. Catholic church and community.
“A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (no. 49) wrote the Holy Father in Laudato Si’.
We know climate change, the state of our common home, our moral response to current injustices including poverty and racism, our unbridled appetite for goods and advancement, and our disregard for other life and creatures is all connected, thanks in great part to Pope Francis sending this message of integral ecology to the world.
In Pope Francis we have not only inspirational words but a Christ-like example of what it means to be human and humane. The Holy Father shows us how to live our best life, how to protect our common home so all may flourish, and how through collaborative action and solidarity with all our brothers and sisters, we can better hear and respond to the cries of each other and our planet. Through Francis’s words and example, we can draw on our faith to inspire us to change things, and live in the knowledge God hears our pleas.
Blessing to you Pope Francis, and all Creation, and may God continue to bless our time together.
— Dan Misleh
Catholic Climate Covenant