Bishops welcomed Pope Francis’ Season of Creation message on the theme ‘Listen to the Voice Creation’, wherein the Holy Father calls on world leaders, ahead of COP27 (the UN Climate Conference), in Egypt in November, to “take more ambitious steps”, to keep “their promises of financial and technical support for the economically poorer nations, which are already experiencing most of the burden of the climate crisis.”
Bishops reflected on the reality that the Season of Creation this year began with the news of devastating floods in Pakistan where approximately 1,500 people have died, 1.7m homes destroyed and 750,000 livestock killed. Together, with the situation in Somalia and the horn of Africa experiencing the worst drought in forty years, we see some examples of the devastating impact climate change has had on the lives and livelihoods of our sisters and brothers living in developing countries. According to the World Bank, the average GDP per capita in Pakistan is US$1,200 which is in sharp contrast to US$84,000 in Ireland.
In praying for all those affected by climate change, bishops reiterated the consistent call of Pope Francis, enshrined in Catholic Social Teaching, that economic systems must not be based on short-term profits but, rather, ought to serve the common good of present and future generations.
In acknowledging the current fuel crisis, and consequent pressures upon consumers, the bishops stated that no one in Ireland should suffer from fuel poverty this Winter. Bishops also recognized that, into the future, the current fuel crisis offers an opportunity to reduce dependency upon fossil fuels.
Bishops also welcomed provision of resources by the Laudato Si Working Group – available on https://www.catholicbishops.ie/2022/07/11/resources-for-the-season-of-creation-2022/ – and encouraged everyone to avail of these resources, which will be continuously reviewed for use by dioceses and parishes.