Now more than ever, according to Cardinal Michael Czerny, we must be responsible citizens and protect our Common Home.

Speaking to Vatican News about Earth Day, commemorated across the globe on 22 April, the newly appointed Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development reflects on why the Church cares so much about the Day dedicated to protecting the planet.

Each Earth Day, millions of people across the continents gather together to draw attention to the need to safeguard our planet.

“The Church,” the Canadian Cardinal tells Vatican News, “cares very much about the Earth because the Earth was created by God, the same God who created all of us as siblings who are called to live together in our Common Home and take care of it.”

And Earth Day, he says, “is a day for remembering our belonging in this Common Home to one common family,” and to remember “our very serious, and I would say, increasing responsibility to take good care of this one Common Home we have.”

“We celebrate Earth Day this year in the shadow of multiple serious, grave and menacing failures on the part of the human family to take this reality seriously.”

For this reason, Cardinal Czerny insists, it is “an urgent day” to commemorate.

Close to Pope Francis’ heart

The Vatican Prefect also reflects on why it is so important to Pope Francis to bring attention to protecting the environment.

“Pope Francis,” Cardinal Czerny observes, “has called us to pay attention to the environment, from practically the beginning of his pontificate and especially in his Laudato si‘,” the first ever encyclical by a Pope dedicated to the environment.

“But to answer your question as to why it is so important to the Pope, ” he points out, “it is when we read the encyclical Fratelli tutti, we realize the profound importance that it is a single vocation to be siblings to one another, and to take care of our Common Home.”

“You cannot have one without the other.”

“So, that makes the call of Earth Day, to be responsible citizens on this Earth,” the Cardinal underscores, “so pressing.”

“If not, then not,” Cardinal Czerny says, lamenting, “That unfortunately, is the direction we are going in.”

Pope’s Tweet today

Marking Earth Day on Friday, Pope Francis issued a Tweet inviting everyone to protect the planet and halt the destruction of the planet. He said: “We all need to make a contribution to halt the destruction of our Common Home and to restore nature: governments, businesses and citizens – we must act like brothers and sisters who share the Earth, the common home that God has given us.”