07 September 2021, The Tablet

Church leaders call for repentance over climate crisis

Church leaders call for repentance over climate crisis

An Extinction Rebellion march through the City of London took place on Sunday, demanding an end to exploitation of fossil fuels.
Peter Marshall/Alamy

Pope Francis has joined Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in issuing a radical call for cooperation and commitment to combat climate change.

In a joint statement issued today, they call for repentance and a turning away from actions that have led to the escalating climate crisis.
The world is paying the price for the irresponsible use of natural resources, they warn.
“The extreme atmospheric and natural disasters of recent months reveal to us again with great force and with great human cost that climate change is not only a future challenge, but also a matter of immediate and urgent survival. Widespread floods, fires and droughts threaten entire continents. 
“Sea levels rise, forcing entire communities to relocate; cyclones devastate entire regions, ruining lives and livelihoods. Water has become scarce and food supplies are uncertain, causing conflict and displacement for millions of people. We have already seen this in places where people depend on small-scale agricultural properties. Today we see it in the most industrialised countries. Tomorrow could be worse.” 
In the run-up to the climate summit, Cop26, in Glasgow in November, they call on world leaders and others in positions of responsibility not to waste the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have to decide what kind of world we want to leave for future generations. God commands: ‘Choose life then, so that you and your descendants may live.’ We have to choose to live differently; we have to choose life.”

September is celebrated by many Christians as the Time of Creation, an opportunity to pray and care for God's creation, and last Sunday was marked nationwide as Climate Sunday.

“As world leaders prepare to meet in Glasgow in November to deliberate on the future of our planet, we pray for them and reflect on what are the choices we all have to make. Therefore, as leaders of our Churches, we urge everyone, whatever their faith or worldview, to try to listen to the cry of the earth and the poor, examining their own behaviour and committing themselves to make significant sacrifices for the good of the earth. that God has given us,” the church leaders say.

They condemn those who have maximised their own interest at the expense of future generations. “By focusing on our wealth, we find that long-term assets, including nature's abundance, are consumed for short-term benefit. Technology has opened up new possibilities for progress, but also for the accumulation of unlimited wealth, and many of us behave in ways that show little concern for other people or for the limitations of the planet. Nature is resilient, yet delicate. We are already witnessing the consequences of our refusal to protect and preserve it. Now, in this moment, we have an opportunity to repent, to turn with determination, to head in the opposite direction. We must pursue generosity and fairness in the ways we live, work and use money rather than selfish gain.”

The people who suffer the most catastrophic consequences of such abuses are the poorest on the planet and who had less responsibility for causing them. “We serve a God of righteousness, who delights in creation and creates each person in His image, but who also listens to the cry of the poor. Therefore there is an innate call within us to respond with anguish when we see this devastating injustice.”






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