Volume 31 Issue 13 - 6 September 2019

Care for Creation

1st September marked the 4th annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in the Catholic Church. In 2015, Pope Francis decided to set up this annual celebration and announced it in a letter released on 6 August that year. The Orthodox Christian churches have celebrated this day for many decades and Pope Francis’ decision to establish this practice within the Catholic Church can be viewed as an act of solidarity in ‘caring for our common home’.

On Sunday the Vatican released this statement from Pope Francis which contains much for us to consider. Here is an extract from this statement:

Our prayers and appeals are directed first at raising the awareness of political and civil leaders. I think in particular of those governments that will meet in coming months to renew commitments decisive for directing the planet towards life, not death. The words that Moses proclaimed to the people as a kind of spiritual testament at the threshold of the Promised Land come to mind: “Therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live” (Dt 3:19). We can apply those prophetic words to ourselves and to the situation of our earth. Let us choose life! Let us say “no” to consumerist greed and to the illusion of omnipotence, for these are the ways of death. Let us inaugurate farsighted processes involving responsible sacrifices today for the sake of sure prospects for life tomorrow. Let us not give in to the perverse logic of quick profit, but look instead to our common future!

In this regard, the forthcoming United Nations Climate Action Summit is of particular importance. There, governments will have the responsibility of showing the political will to take drastic measures to achieve as quickly as possible zero net greenhouse gas emissions and to limit the average increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius with respect to pre-industrial levels, in accordance with the Paris Agreement goals. Next month, in October, the Amazon region, whose integrity is gravely threatened, will be the subject of a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Let us take up these opportunities to respond to the cry of the poor and of our earth!

The Season of Creation begins this Sunday and runs through to 4 October, the feast of St Francis of Assisi, and Pope Francis said, “is a time conducive to the praise of God for all his creatures and the assumption of responsibility in the face of the cry of the Earth.”

Louise East - Acting Religious Studies Coordinator