Saturday, June 27, 2015

Pope affirms CBCP ‘ecology efforts’ in new encylical


From the Website of CBCP

Pope affirms CBCP ‘ecology efforts’ in new encylical

MANILA, June 25, 2015 – It is not something new but Pope Francis’ citation of Filipino bishops in his groundbreaking letter on the environment shows that local efforts on caring for creation are on the “right track”, a church official said.

Pope Francis greets crowds at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST), Manila, Jan. 18, 2015. (Photo: Lawrence Ofrin)
In his nearly 200-page encyclical entitled Laudato Si’ (Be Praised), the pontiff cited a document of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on the environment.

“Who turned the wonder world of the seas into underwater cemeteries bereft of color and life?” the Pope quoted a CBCP pastoral letter on ecology when he talked about the destruction of marine resources.

‘Right direction’

Published in January 1988, the statement entitled “What is happening to our beautiful land?” is the world’s first pastoral letter of Catholic bishops on the environment.
The landmark document was even adopted and published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
After almost three decades, Laudato Si’ is said to be the Vatican’s first major teaching on the environment and climate change.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP president, said the citation was recognition of the pastoral efforts of the local Church in the area of ecological stewardship.

“It is an affirmation that we in the Philippines are in the right direction in teaching that creation is a gift that must be cared for,” Villegas said.

He, however, clarified that this was not the first time the Pope cited the CBCP in an encyclical.
According to him, the pontiff also quoted a CBCP statement in his first encyclical, Evangelii Gaudium (The joy of the Gospel).

Moral guidance

The CBCP head said the Pope’s second encyclical offers moral guidance and seeks to address humanity’s indifference to the earth.

He said the letter provides perspectives on the need for a better approach to ecological problems and its effects to the poor.

“This is why the Pope’s encyclical on the worrisome and truly pressing environmental and ecological issues should be truly exciting,” Villegas said.

While the church’s first major teaching letter on climate change is not about science, he said talks on the issue should not be left to scientists alone.

“The roots of our indifference to environmental and ecological concerns — which, in the ultimate analysis, are concerns for the good of all — and the sinful dispositions in all of us that make us contributors to the depredation of a world entrusted to our stewardship, these are what scientists cannot teach us. All these, the encyclical promises to address,” Villegas said.

The CBCP chief then called on the faithful to heed the Pope’s call to preserve the environment and to protect communities from climate change consequences.

“We are still suffering from the sweltering heat of this summer, and hardly anyone will contest the claim that this was among the hottest of summers we have ever gone through. We are also warned about more erratic weather systems including more violent typhoons,” Villegas added.

“But the Pope’s letter will remain nothing more than ink on paper until we all allow ourselves to be won over by St. Francis’ exaltation of all of created reality,” he also said.
Caritas’ inspiration

For Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the encyclical will guide the agency’s work around the world for years to come.

“I visit communities where people are living on trash heaps. Children are born in trash, grow up and die there. They feel like trash. This is not God’s creation, this is man-made,” Tagle told Zenit.

“Pope Francis is inviting everyone to reflect on this reality. He is calling on us to ‘aim for a new lifestyle,’ to change the economic structures that have caused so much harm and regain our responsibility for others and the world. Laudato Si’ will inspire the work of Caritas organizations [for] years to come,” he said.
Aside from the environment, the encyclical also touches key aspects of Caritas’ work such as labor exploitation, agriculture, and social inequity. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

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