Letter for life to Pope Francis

Letter for life

Tēnei te mihi ki a koe a Pāpā Werahiko, te kaihautū o te waka o te Hahi Katorika,kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. Greetings to you Pope Francis leader of the Catholic Church.

I write to you in light of a call from the global campaign organisation Avaaz, Letters for life on Earth.  As you well know from the work you did on the encyclical Laudato si our world is broken and harmed in many places and ways. Thank you for calling us to an integral ecology of care for Earth and all the suffering poor of Earth. I respect your courage in naming abuse in all its forms and for being a light of life in a time of disruption and darkness. The world and Church is in need of reforms that will bring to birth life sustaining societies and places of sanctuary for the vulnerable.

As a concerned citizen and Marist religious living in Aotearoa New Zealand I am filled with a sense urgency. The harms carried out in the name of progress and growth are much worse than any of us want to admit. We need to act immediately and comprehensively to save homes and habitats. This matters to me because I live in a beautiful and precious land. We have in Aotearoa/NZ a diverse and fragile flora and fauna, much of it is protected in national parks, and still it remains endangered.

In Aotearoa New Zealand most of us are influenced by the world-view and spirituality of Māori people, the first peoples of this nation. They have an ecology of guiding principles and practices that form an ethical matrix for living in right relationships. For those willing to learn and understand they encourage a reverence for the whole of life, a sense of kinship, a regard for life’s gifts, responsibility for these gifts and commitments to safeguard them for future generations.

As the Leader of the Catholic world I would encourage you to take a lead in the matter of declaring your support for the Half-Earth campaign. I am encouraging you to speak publically in favour of having half the planet go into special care and protection. With a Synod on the Amazon coming up you will have a particular opportunity to give your support to this initiative. In this time of mass extinction it has become essential that half of Earth’s land and oceans to be put into special reserves. This will give 85% of all species safe havens and avert them from extinction.

Thank you for the call to conversion that has echoed out into the world in your encyclical Laudato si and be assured of support and prayers from all people of goodwill in this small and strident nation Downunder. May I conclude with a prayer for you and our troubled planet home:

God up ahead of us,
You who carry us foward,
we pray in anticipation of a world drawn-down.
In the midst of unthinkable harms we know only anxiety and pain.
We trust the impossible to happen,
we hold fast to your Kindom of care and protection,
we believe in your promise of justice and peace.
Wherever we are on our journey go before us ,
surround everything with your
enduring spirit of love.


  • Peter Healy sm lives at Whānau Maria, Ōtaki, Aotearoa New Zealand
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