05 September 2019, The Tablet

Church can expose ‘sins against the planet’


 

There is no Planet B, to which the human race could migrate to escape the reeking rubbish tip that Planet Earth is slowly but surely becoming. It is that which justifies the use of words like “crisis” and “emergency” to describe the present global trends, and their increasing currency may be a sign that the message is starting to sink in. It is a moral message, and therefore it is beholden on those principally concerned with morality, religious bodies particularly, to respond with a sufficient degree of urgency, insight and realism.

Pope Francis signposted the way with his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’. The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have now issued a statement on the global climate crisis, largely a summary of Laudato Si’, which is a welcome response though not exactly an urgent one. Cafod, the Catholic bishops’ lead agency on climate change matters, has added its name to an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer from various similar bodies, asking for a doubling in the level of government investment in environmental protection to a rate of £42 billion a year for the next three years. These are deeply political issues.

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