Over 34 supporters and volunteers from parishes in the Northampton diocese and a few from Westminster Diocese heard Barbara Kentish (Wesminster J&P archdiocese) talk on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudate Si’- Care for our common home.
Barbara’s emphasis was on the importance that Pope Francis gives to the link between the sensible guardianship of the Earth’s resources and the need to protect the poorest members of society from exploitation. Throughout the encyclical Pope Francis emphasised that climate change was but one feature of global problems which all impacted on each other. In language not often heard coming from papal pronouncements the encyclical says that “the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”
The issues of development were highlighted and the Sustainable Development Goals were mentioned, including the interconnectedness of poverty, climate and ecology. She noted that Pope Francis said that the ‘cry of the poor’ and the ‘cry of the earth’ were not separate issues but one challenge that required a shared response from people of all faiths and none i.e. to everyone on this planet. The CAFOD Laudato Si’ study guides were used.
Pope Francis challenges us to ‘redefine the notion of progress’. We need to engage with this challenge and respond to questions such as – What is progress? How can we care for and protect our ‘common home’? In what ways are the ecological crisis and global poverty interconnected? What difference would a new approach to what the Pope calls ‘integral ecology’ and a new understanding of progress make to our day to day work and mission?
The day ended with three discussion groups which focussed on what could be done as
- Individuals – writing to your MP
- A parish – The LiveSimply scheme was a good way forward
- A community – the group came up with a letter to send to their MPs which addressed their concerns about climate change and its impact.
Deborah Purfield (CAFOD coordinator – Northampton Diocese) said, “It was very inspiring and encouraging to hear how many of those present were already putting into practise some of what the Pope is asking of us in Laudato Si’. They have started with themselves and are not satisfied with doing the least they can do but the most!”