The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has committed to working towards a more sustainable church in its annual statement promoting social justice, Sight Magazine reports.
In the ‘Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor’ statement released this month, the bishops have committed to a seven-year “journey towards seven ‘Laudato Si’ Goals” – a reference to Pope Francis’s May 2015 encyclical, calling for global action to remedy inequality among the poor, mitigate the devastating consequences of climate change and adopt measures to care for and share the world’s resources along Biblical principles.
“The Pope’s Laudato Si’ recognises that the contradiction between economic growth and the Earth’s ecological balance cannot be considered progress because too often people’s quality of life actually diminishes – by the deterioration of the environment, the low quality of food or the depletion of resources – in the midst of economic growth”, said Bishop Vincent Long, chair of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service.
“Sustainability practices need to serve the environment as well as the disadvantaged, vulnerable and excluded members of our global society, including future generations.”
The call comes at the same time as the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a grim “code red” warning that Earth is 10 years from heating by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s subsequent refusal to commit to a target of net zero emissions by 2050.
“We are facing an ecological crisis and Pope Francis wants the whole church globally to act with a greater sense of urgency,” Bishop Long said.
“In Australia, passionate individuals, religious institutes, schools and organisations have been working on ecological issues for a long time. I want to affirm and thank them all, and to urge the whole Catholic community to join them.”
He called on those groups to join the bishops in signing up to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform to adopt greater use of clean renewable energy, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, protect biodiversity and Indigenous cultures, increase access to clean water and focus attention on vulnerable groups.
Australian Catholic bishops call for a more sustainable church (Sight Magazine)
Office for Social Justice (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)