In a joint statement, the two charities have welcomed the new Papal Encyclical Laudato Si (Praise be to you) – with its strong moral message on the environment. The organisations urge all churches to reflect on the encyclical, and to put pressure on their respective governments for the United Nations talks on climate change at Paris in December 2015.
‘At a time when humanity’s actions are having an unprecedented negative impact on God’s world, it’s vital that Christians of all denominations – along with those of other faiths and none – unite to protect creation’s integrity,’ said Rev Dave Bookless, Director of Theology for A Rocha International.
As leader of a billion-strong global community, Pope Francis has taken ‘an important stance of great moral leadership’ in linking Christian faith to tackling global poverty and environmental destruction, Dave added.
‘As the encyclical states, the earth is a “common home”, which is “like a sister with whom we share our life”,’ said Dr Ruth Valerio, Churches And Theology Director for A Rocha UK. ‘Coming off the back of yesterday’s mass lobby of Parliament, its call to heed our sister’s cries and take action is one we must take seriously.’ A Rocha UK played a key role in the Climate Coalition lobby on 17th June. Dr Valerio led the ecumenical service at London’s Emmanuel Centre.
TRAPPED IN POVERTY
The Encyclical is a substantial document, requiring careful study, said Dave Bookless. ‘Even from a first impression, it’s a document deeply rooted in biblical reflection and based on careful academic science,’ he added. It also draws on a long tradition of Catholic social and ecological teaching going back to Francis of Assisi.
‘It’s encouraging to see a profound concern for biodiversity alongside a passion for those trapped in material poverty and those ensnared by over-consumption,’ Dave explained. ‘The concept of “integral ecology” – where the needs of ecosystems, human societies and economic flourishing have to be considered together – is commended as particularly important.’ (Photo by Clive Price of A Rocha UK and A Rocha International staff and supporters at the Climate Coalition lobby in Westminster)