The work of charity and social justice should never end for the Catholic Christian. By word and especially by deed, Pope Francis has shown us the power of witness to this task. By taking the name of everyone’s favorite saint, His Holiness has offered new hope and new light to all the world both through his demonstration of charity (taking in refugees from war-torn Syria) and through justice (calling everyone to see God in all of creation and becoming mindful of the personal and systemic issues that make life so challenging for the most vulnerable among us because of our lack of care for God’s good gift of creation).
His message and his example offer a glaring contrast to this election season which was one of the most contentious and uncivil in our nation’s history. There is a great desire by many—but sadly not all—to heal and to work together for the common good.
People of faith can and must begin to rise above partisan divisions for the sake of the common good, the climate, and the healing of our nation. This vote shows a deeply divided nation and a distrust with our government and other institutions. Let the Catholic community be the one institution—following the example of Pope Francis—to be a place of safety to discuss common concerns and a place where all are welcome.
Catholic Climate Covenant will work hard to be a space where issues of protecting our common home can be discussed. And we will continue to be vigilant and active in making the case that, “[l]iving our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience” (LS #217). We will make the case that environmental justice and climate change are pro-life issues because we are a part of, not apart from, the earth and because there are already people at home and abroad who are dying because of a degraded environment. As Pope Francis said repeatedly in Laudato Sí, “all is interconnected.” We will work with you to ensure that the new administration and Congress do not roll back or thwart efforts to reduce carbon pollution, and the climate change it is fueling, and live up to our global and moral obligations towards countries that are suffering because of our neglect.
There is much to do at the personal and pastoral level. Each of us must embrace a simpler lifestyle and see it not as sacrifice but as a way to be true to our conviction that the “earth is the Lord’s and all who dwell within” (PS 24).
For the Covenant, we will march full-steam-ahead with our pastoral training program and begin to expand the Catholic Covenant Energies program. We will continue to produce high-quality educational programming for parishes and schools and inspire action throughout the Catholic community. We will work with our 16 national Catholic partners and others to ensure that we continue the gains we have made to live up to the challenges of Laudato Sí.
Your support—both your actions and your gifts—for these efforts will be more important than ever.
While the road may be long and even bumpy as we move forward, we must remember that even as we do our part, we must ultimately rely on a benevolent God: “The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home” (LS #13).
Catholic Climate Covenant