Cardinal writes to Prime Minister ahead of COP26

Ahead of the meeting of world leaders at the COP26 UN climate summit, Cardinal Vincent Nichols has written to the Prime Minister to express the hopes of the Catholic community in England and Wales.

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Describing the global ecological crisis as “a dark cloud over humanity”, he emphasises that the Catholic faith “calls us to care for our common home with all people of good will”.

Whilst assuring the Prime Minister of prayers for a successful summit, Cardinal Nichols points out how Catholic parishes, schools and dioceses are meeting the environmental challenges head-on, stressing that whilst the crisis is human made, so too are its solutions.

He also asks that three key actions are pursued:

  • Support poorer and more vulnerable communities in the face of the devastating effects of climate change,
  • Take a lead in international efforts to develop and champion green energy solutions,
  • Do all you can to lead partnership between all nations in reducing harmful emissions and in keeping global warming to its stated goals.

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You can download Cardinal Nichols’ letter here:

Background

The urgency of the global ecological crisis and the teaching of our Catholic faith implores us as a Church to work to cultivate care for our common home with all people of good will. Both Pope Benedict and more recently Pope Francis have spoken out on our responsibility to care for creation.

Within Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis encourages us to approach this “dark cloud” with a “renewed hope” and a fraternity grounded in the “reserves of goodness present in the human hearts” and not from a position of “isolation and withdrawal into one’s own interests.” [1]

In Laudato Si’ he points out that “we are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis that is both social and environmental.” [2]

We cannot, as the Pope reminds us, “pretend to be healthy in a world that is sick” because the wounds inflicted on the planet “are wounds that also bleed into us.”[3]

Restoring a harmonious relationship with nature is the crux of the climate challenge that faces us, and this must begin with “acknowledging that every living being has intrinsic value and purpose and, as such much be cherished.” [4]

Such an approach places interrelated demands on each of us to respond, from world leaders to the youngest amongst us. Within our own community this last year, we have been showcasing some of the excellent projects and initiatives run by our parishes, schools and dioceses. [5]

Prayer for COP26

Throughout the next two weeks, we invite you to pray for the leaders meeting in Glasgow, and to reflect on the role of every one of us in creating and supporting a sustainable future for our Common Home.

Pray with us here.

References

[1] Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter, Fratelli Tutti (3 October 2020)

[2] Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (24 May 2015) 139

[3] Pope Francis, Letter to the President of Colombia on World Environment Day, (5 June 2020)

[4] Archbishop Gallagher Statement at the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity (30 September 2020)

[5] Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales Environment Case Studies