17 October 2023, The Tablet

Christian climate activists hold vigil outside oil conference

Christian climate activists hold vigil outside oil conference

Christian Climate Action (CCA) held a vigil on Monday evening outside a three-day meeting in London attended by oil company executives.

Around 25 people attended the ecumenical vigil, holding candles in a “circle of lament” and praying. One of the organisers, Melanie Nazareth, told The Tablet they prayed that those taking part in this conference would do as the pope asks and “be strategists capable of considering the common good, and the future of the children, more than the short-term interests of certain countries or businesses”.

Sections were read out from Laudate Deum, the public exhortation Pope Francis published two weeks ago on the climate crisis. Activists quoted his comments on the crisis not being just ecological but “a human and social problem” and his plea that “we must move beyond the mentality of appearing to be concerned but not having the courage needed to produce substantial changes”. Pope Francis’ endorsement of nonviolent grassroots protest was also highlighted.

“We used his words, addressed to all people of goodwill, to give voice to our lament,” said Ms Nazareth.  “The fossil fuel industry sits at the polluted heart of the climate emergency,” she added. “We cannot stand by as oil companies destroy our communities and burn our common home for the sake of profit.”

The vigil concluded with a Cafod prayer. “The whole thing was so beautifully put together with bits from Laudate Deum, the Taize chant ‘Laudato Omnes Gentes’ and silence,” Columban Sister Kate Midgley told The Tablet. “It was so prayerful and powerful.”



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