Resolutions released after the Bishops' Autumn Plenary 2023 focusing on Environmental Concerns, the Shrine of St Winefride in Holywell, north Wales, the 2024 National Eucharistic Congress, and the Conflict in Gaza.
Note: There is a separate longer resolution on The Synod on Synodality: Steps Towards Renewal.
The Bishops of England and Wales welcome Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation, Laudate Deum. We ask Catholics to consider how they can respond to the Pope’s urgent call to action by deepening their relationship with Christ and, through doing so, resolve to undertake and promote practical action to respect and nurture God’s creation and the natural world. We recognise the wonderful work that Catholics, and many others, are doing to change our culture in relation to how we view and act towards the environment.
We echo Pope Francis’s call for our political leaders to take decisive action at COP 28 and to create energy transition targets that are efficient, obligatory and readily monitored, and we ask them to consider how such targets can be enforced.
We commend for further study the intellectual resources of the Church in this area, including Pope Francis’s letters Laudate Deum and Laudato Si and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference’s publication The Call of Creation. We also commend the practical work that is being undertaken through the Guardians of Creation project, which provides practical guidance and resources to support transition in dioceses and parishes, and through Cafod’s Live Simply programme.
The Bishops’ Conference approves the elevation of the Diocesan Shrine of St Winefride, Holywell to the status of National Shrine for England and Wales.
The Bishops of England and Wales commit to supporting the National Eucharistic Congress at Oscott College in September 2024, encouraging at least one coach to attend from each diocese.
As Bishops of England and Wales we deplore and condemn the barbaric terrorist attacks perpetrated in Israel on 7 October 2023. We weep for the innocent victims of violence, especially the children, whose lives are traumatised by the escalation of violence in the region.
We pray earnestly that the regional instabilities created will not lead to a wider conflict, fuelled by anti-Semitism, xenophobia and terrorism.
We call on all in England and Wales to find the good in others. No one should live in fear in their community, or school, or workplace because of their faith or because of events taking place in this conflict. Our support for one another will be our strength both in these difficult times and in the future.
We pray that the violence will cease. As we approach the Holy Season of Advent, we pray that Christ the Prince of Peace will guide all devastated by this conflict into the ways of truth, reconciliation, and respectful co-existence.
We echo the appeal of a First World War veteran who, at the age of 100, said that “In war nobody wins. You might as well talk first. You have to in the end.”
Related: You can read this earlier statement on the war in the Holy Land by Bishop Nicholas Hudson, Chair of the Holy Land Co-ordination and Bishop Declan Lang, Chair of the International Affairs department.