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What does the Church really say about climate change?

March 13, 2008
environ.jpgCould the Church’s new environmental emphasis be a myth? Some commentators tried to argue as much. It’s true that the Pope’s statements on the subject are given a disproportionate share of the headlines lately. That said, surely the Holy Father now knows that every green comment he makes will appear in the mainstream media. Yet he continues to preach boldly on the topic, extensively during his message for the World Day of Peace and most recently in his meeting with the priests of the Diocese of Rome on February 7th.
Building on the climate change conference the Vatican hosted in April, Monigsnor Pietro Parolin addressed the UN General Assembly on the topic. As if to finally convince doubters of the Church’s position, the Undersecretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States affirmed plainly that “the best scientific assessments available have established a link between human activity and climate change.” And then there was this weekend’s widely-reported Osservatore Romano article in which Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, the regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary at the Vatican, listed environmental neglect as a uniquely-21st century sin worthy of confession.
Now it’s the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops who have gone green with their new document, “Our Relationship with the Environment: The Need for Conversion”. You could be forgiven for asking yourself why they bothered, given that buckets of vegetable-based ink have already been spilled on the subject. But, then, are you using less gasoline than a year ago? Is it still shorts season in your summer oasis of an apartment? Precisely what kinds of sacrifices would you be willing to make, and why haven’t you made them? The Bishops are calling us to a far greater commitment than one paltry Earth Hour. Why not begin with a small sacrifice of time and read what they have to say.