03 October 2023, The Tablet

Abandon fossil fuels says bishop

Abandon fossil fuels says bishop

Pope Francis published Laudate Deum, his new document on the environment, tomorrow.
Independent Photo Agency Srl / Alamy

Days before Pope Francis published Laudate Deum, his new document on the environment, Bishop of Salford John Arnold urged Catholics in England and Wales to abandon the use of fossil fuels.

He described them as being “really the most dangerous element in global climate change,” saying “we’ve got to learn to live without [them].”

Arnold who is the lead bishop on environmental issues for the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said, “We are stewards of creation. Each and every one of us has our part to play. They may seem to be trivial measures that we take in order to save electricity, save water, eat less red meat, all these sorts of things, all small in themselves. But if we put them together, then they do make a big difference.”

Alluding to climate change sceptics, he added: “António Guterres, who draws on great authorities as Secretary General of the United Nations, he’s talked about no longer it being global warming, but now global boiling, and that we are facing a climate catastrophe. I don't see how people can deny it anymore.”

Arnold said care for the environment – as highlighted by Pope Francis in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ –  is central to the Catholic faith, saying: “I don't think we can take the most important commandments seriously unless we include nature and the environment.”

He added, “If we're really going to love our neighbour, we've got to look after the world in which we live because too many people are suffering through climate change and we've plundered other nations for our profit, and that's got to change. We've got to repair the damage and make sure that in that way we're looking after our brothers and sisters, which is our way of loving God.”

Laudate Deum, the Pope’s apostolic exhortation on the environment, was published on Wednesday, October 4, the feast of St Francis at the end of this year’s Season of Creation


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