News archive 2015

Pope Francis Encyclical on ecology ‘a wake-up call to a world sleep-walking into disaster,’ says Trócaire

Trócaire, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church, has today welcomed Pope Francis’s Encyclical on ecology, saying the Pope’s unprecedented intervention must have a positive impact on the vital climate negotiations this year.

Pope Francis today published Laudato Si’, in which he calls for action at local, national and international levels to combat ecological destruction, and in particular the future threat and current reality of climate change. The Encyclical, which is addressed to “every person who lives on this planet,” clearly aligns the Catholic Church with the growing movement calling for urgent changes to lifestyles and energy consumption in order to safeguard the future of the planet.

Speaking in the strongest terms yet in defence of the environment as “our common home,” Pope Francis warns of the unprecedented destruction of ecosystems as a result of human activity, clearly outlining the threats to future generations as a result of our actions. Calling for an “integral ecology,” Pope Francis underscores the human roots of the current  ecological crisis in social, political and economic structures. He points to the need for a radical shift in direction in political and economic priorities in order to meet the needs of the poorest, while also warning that our current lifestyles and consumption patterns are unsustainable.

Trócaire Executive Director Éamonn Meehan said that the Encyclical should mark a turning point in the global response to environmental justice, and particularly climate change:

“This Encyclical is one of the most significant Church documents in a generation.  It is a powerful wake-up call to a world sleep-walking into disaster. Pope Francis has clearly aligned the Catholic Church with calls for urgent political action to reduce carbon emissions and set the world on the path to a sustainable future.

“Trócaire is dealing with the consequences of climate change on a daily basis. Drought, flooding, storms and forced migration are all on the rise. Although we are insulated from the worst impacts in Ireland, we must not forget that hundreds of millions of people around the world are struggling to survive in great part due to the changing climate.

“In less than six months time, world leaders will meet in Paris at the UN Climate Summit. Pope Francis has added the voice of the global Catholic Church to the calls for agreement on a legally-binding framework to decarbonise our societies as a matter of urgency.

“The science on climate change is already clear. Pope Francis has now clearly outlined the moral and spiritual arguments for taking action. This Encyclical tackles the lethargy that is felt by many people when faced with this most pressing of crises. Pope Francis makes clear that everything is inter-connected. We are custodians of this planet and we have a clear moral obligation to ensure that everyone has access to its abundant resources, and that we hand it to future generations in a condition that is compatible with life,” concluded Éamonn Meehan.

Additional Notes:

  1. An Encyclical is a letter issued by the Pope to all Catholic Bishops around the world. Laudato Si‘ is Pope Francis’s second Encyclical. In June 2013 he released Lumen Fidei, which addressed issues such as faith and charity.
  2. The environment has been a key theme of Francis’s papacy. In his inaugural address (March 2013), Pope Francis urged people to be “protectors of one another and of the environment,” reminding people that “everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it.”
  3. In Evangelii Gaudium, an apostolic exhortation issued in November 2013, Pope Francis warned against an economic system which promotes exclusion, inequality and violence. He warned, “in this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increase profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.” An apostolic exhortation is a letter to all Bishops, clergy and lay faithful.
  4. In 2014/15, Trócaire spent almost €58 million helping to improve the lives of an estimated 2.4 million people directly in some of the poorest places in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.
  5. Climate change is a priority issue for Trócaire. Our Livelihoods programmes offer support to people struggling to grow food in the face of erratic weather patterns, while our Humanitarian programmes respond to situations of crisis resulting from drought, storms and floods. In 2014/15, €13.3 million was spent supporting livelihoods programmes in 14 countries. These programmes are estimated to have benefitted 794,898 people directly. In 2014/15 Trócaire spent €26.8 million supporting humanitarian and disaster risk reduction work in 16 countries. This work is estimated to have supported over 1.1 million people directly.
  6. In 2014, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference issued ‘The Cry of the Earth,’ a pastoral reflection on climate change which noted: “in addressing the challenge of climate change, everyone has a part to play. Every action taken in favour of a just and more sustainable environment, no matter how small, has an intrinsic value. Action at a global level, as well as every individual action which contributes to integral human development and global solidarity, helps to construct a more sustainable environment and, therefore, a better world.”
  7. Trócaire issued ‘Glás’, a pastoral resource, to accompany ‘The Cry of the Earth.’ This resource has been distributed to parishes throughout Ireland in order to give communities ideas of practical steps that can be taken to promote a healthy environment. Trócaire works with parishes, schools and communities across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to promote responses to climate change.

ENDS

Michelle Hoctor
Head of Communications
Trócaire, Maynooth.
michelle.hoctor@trocaire.org
+353 1 5053280
www.trocaire.org

 

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