On the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi – the patron saint of ecologists who had an unbreakable love for animals and nature – the Church’s lead bishop on the environment, Bishop John Arnold, has called on Catholics to take the lead to address the “ecological crisis”.
“Today is the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of all who study and work in the field of ecology. It is also the final day of the Season of Creation, which began on 1 September – the ‘World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation'”
Drawing attention to a new film on church teaching and the environment, titled ‘Global Caring‘, Bishop Arnold called for a year-round consciousness of what needs to be done to be good custodians of our natural world and all who live in it:
“It goes without saying that we do not wait until next September to reflect and act on the state of our common home. This month the Bishops’ Conference released a second film on Laudato Si’ entitled ‘Global Caring: Living in Harmony with God’s Creation,’ and we would be delighted to see parish groups, schools, universities and individuals use it to reflect on our Catholic teaching on the environment, and on the responses we can all make to address this ecological crisis.
Bishops, lay consultants and senior church leaders are gathering in Rome ahead of the Synod on the Amazon region called to reflect on the theme: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.
The meeting’s preparatory document states that much work needs to be done to bring the love of Christ to the margins and that, although a key focus will be a specific geographical area, the region has a direct impact on “the future of the entire planet”. The Synod will listen to indigenous peoples and to all the communities living in the Amazonia “in order to build a bridge to the other important biomes of our world: the Congo basin, the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, the tropical forests of the Asia Pacific region, and the Guarani Aquifer, among others.”
Bishop Arnold asks Catholics in England and Wales to pray for the delegates and the work of the Synod Fathers:
“In just a few days we also see the start of the Synod for the Amazon. I invite you to join me in praying for fruitful dialogue between all those involved in the Synod in these coming weeks; that they are attentive to the voices highlighting challenges in the region and to the mission of bringing more people to the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Bishop John Arnold is the Bishop of Salford and the Lead Bishop on the environment for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.