The most profound statement that the Christian Church has made over the past decade regarding the global eco-justice crisis facing humanity is Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home. But a papal statement, no matter how profound, without a faithful active response from its audience is like preparing a banquet meal to which no one attends and the food goes to waste.
Six years down the pike from the encyclical’s release, the response within Christendom in general and the Roman Catholic Church in particular has been parallel to that of humanity’s response to the climate crisis at large; too little, too late. In an attempt to jump-start a bolder response to Laudato Si and the climate crisis the U.S. Catholic Church is holding biennial climate conferences.
The middle of three conferences co-organized by the Catholic Climate Covenant and Creighton University was held (virtually) July 13-15 with over 2,600 registrants. It’s primary objective was to prepare for the full release this fall (Oct. 4 the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi) of the Vatican’s Laudato Si Action Platform. The Catholic Climate Covenant also introduced its new web site, godsplanet.us, to promote involvement in the platform. Please be sure to visit these links to lean more about the actions planned for the coming years.
The keynote address to launch the July 13 conference was presented by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago. During the address he stated:
“Luadato Si’ needs to be understood as a renewed call to conversion, to respond to Jesus’ invitation to think differently about human beings, life, society and our relationship with nature (LS 215): The first conversion involves a shift that affects our politics by moving from an economic model of development to one that emphasizes integral human development (cf., LS 13); a second conversion leads us to become more aware of the interconnectedness of creation and the need for global solidarity through ecological education that is both informational and formational and a third conversion, which is fundamentally spiritual (LS 220ff.), provides us both passion and motivation in taking up the challenges we face. “
I urge you to read the full address HERE, and to ponder the question the Cardinal posed in his opening remarks:
“What does the pope’s challenging message mean for a Christian community that professes a commitment to promoting a culture of life, yet acts with indifference to the call to make the sacrifices needed to protect this common home God has entrusted to us? “