Mammoth pastoral letter urges Catholics to tackle ‘climate catastrophe’

Crux Now

In a 64-page letter, Dublin’s Catholic archbishop urges Catholics to tackle the planet’s unfolding climate catastrophe. This will require ecological conversion, he says.

The pastoral letter is the first one Archbishop Dermot Farrell (pictured) has released since he was installed in February. Pope Francis had announced his appointment last December.

“The purpose of this pastoral letter is to initiate a diocesan conversation about how all can contribute to the care of our common home and recognize the many dimensions attached to this challenge,” the letter says.

“We are at a critical moment as a global community and so I wish to encourage all people of faith to embark on this journey to live our call to protect and care for the garden of the world.”

Farrell released the letter, subtitled “The climate catastrophe – Creation’s urgent call for change,” on the eve of the Season of Creation – an “annual celebration of prayer and action for our common home”. This year the Season runs from 1 September to 4 October. He invited the Dublin archdiocese to participate in the celebration.

“This pastoral letter, which I have titled, ‘The Cry of the Earth, the Cry of the Poor,’ approaches the climate catastrophe from the perspective of faith,” Farrell says.

“That is not to say, it excludes the insights and contribution of the natural sciences. On the contrary, healthy faith takes on board what God says through creation. Faith and science are not opponents; in a truly Christian view, faith and reason … go hand in hand. God reveals himself through the world. That is the heart of our Catholic faith.

“Scientists have issued a ‘code red’ not just for the environment, but for humanity itself. God now calls us, individually and collectively, to work for the good of the planet and the good of all. Let us not fool ourselves: there can be no enduring response to the cry of the earth without responding to the need for justice and dignity.”

In his letter Farrell also urges parishes in the 1.1 million-strong archdiocese to sign the “Healthy Planet-Healthy People” petition, endorsed by the Holy See.

The petition, directed at the U.N. Climate Conference that will take place in Glasgow in November, calls for an agreement limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

He also invites Catholics to become involved with the Laudato Sì Prize, an archdiocesan initiative inspired by Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical.

The letter concludes with an appendix of poetry by English Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins and T.S. Eliot.


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