There is a global effort by Catholics inspired by “Laudato Si” – Pope Francis’ encyclical on safeguarding the environment – to become personally active in doing something about climate change and renewing the environment. Some have hailed the 2015 encyclical as unique and even bold as far as Papal documents go. Others observe that the Holy Father simply states what the Catholic attitude toward God’s gift of nature and the earth’s resources has always been (should have been) since creation. If you haven’t given the encyclical a good reading over, you can find it on many sites of the internet, including the Vatican website [HERE].
Encyclicals usually stimulate considerable reaction from Catholics and the world society as a whole. Sometimes the reaction is polite applause and sometimes it is a whirlwind of excitement and debate – very much in support or very much in disagreement. The response to Laudato Si seems to have been somewhere in the middle. There was surprise that a Pope would issue a statement on something like the environment, rather than something dealing purely with ‘faith and morals’. But after initial news reports immediately after the release, things became quiet. But not for everyone. Some groups and agencies were pleased that the visible head of the Catholic Church seemed to agree with the mainstream science on things like global warming and climate change. He too seemed to be issuing a warning to the people of the world to unite in their efforts to save the planet before things go too far. As the subtitle of his encyclical stated, we all needed to show more “care for our common home”.
UKRAINE’S ENVIRONMENT OFFICE
The Ukrainian Catholic Church even before laudato si, had established an amazingly well-developed Bureau of the UGCC on Ecology. The Ukrainian Catholic Bishops’ Synod of Ukraine had decided in 2007 that such an office needed to be established. Their main office is based in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk in the Ukrainian province of the same name. Their website is, naturally in Ukrainian, but any visitor would be impressed by their activity and dedication to the cause. One adapted video explaining Pope Francis’ Laudato si for children (!) can bee seen here,
….while an original children’s video encouraging responsible caring for world around us, can be viewed here:
A GLOBAL CATHOLIC CLIMATE MOVEMENT
Many Catholics may not yet be aware of a truly global movement that hopes to see many Catholics – if not all 1.4 billion – actively praying for the environment, fasting and, again, praying for and lobbying governments and politicians. The Global Catholic Climate Movement is encouraging Catholics to become active in whatever way they feel comfortable to make a difference in their society and the nature that is affected by the way their society lives. Visit the multilingual website [HERE] to see what the movement is all about.
One of the fascinating projects is the call for commitment on various levels. There is a simple ‘program’ by which individuals, families, parishes and whole eparchies can become more aware of the issues and take active steps to make a difference. Upon reading the simple plans of the action for all four levels… one soon realizes that they are perfect plans of action to make a difference in regard to many of our world’s problems – including abortion, assisted suicide, irresponsible social media and a myriad of social injustices. Check it out and you will see how this movement can make a difference in our world on so many different levels and in a truly Catholic way…
See below a page from a sort of sub-movement of the GCCM known as Live Laudato Si! More information can be found on their website LIVELaudatosi.org.
Are their more important or at least more urgent matters to which we should turn our attention like, say, human life!? Well, the Global Movement responds to that as well with a Pro-Life position. The movement doesn’t seem to be directly concerned with tackling the growing tragedies of abortion and now assisted suicide and euthanasia. However, their stance is that a better, healthier world may reduce the occasions of those socially destructive trends. On their Pro-Life page [HERE] the movement quotes Pope St. Jouhn Paul who, “emphasized that the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion, euthanasia, and capital punishment must also “address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care” (The Gospel of Life, no. 23).
See the website for yourself and see if this particular Global Catholic Movement has something for you to choose from that may motivate you in becoming more involved in the world around you in the spirit of your Catholic faith.