- “No one in Ireland should suffer from fuel poverty this Winter” – Bishops
- Today in Rome the movie, The Letter, will be premiered. It features Pope Francis and tells the story of how the climate crisis is affecting life on Earth
On this, the first day of the Autumn General Meeting of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, which is taking place in-person at Saint Patricks’ College, Maynooth, members discussed the issue of global environmental deterioration, sustainable ecology and the challenge to achieve climate justice for the poorest of humanity. Today, 4 October, also marks the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the environment, and this date coincides with the end of the five-week long ‘Season of Creation’, which has been celebrated throughout the universal Catholic Church.
Pope Francis chose the theme for this year’s Season of Creation as ‘Listen to the Voice Creation’, and this reminds everyone that we are all, as human beings, called to listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. The Bishops’ Conference commended the efforts of the so many people who volunteer in parishes and religious congregations around the country, as well as those in ecumenical settings, to further the care of creation at this critical time in the life of our planet.
Bishops welcomed Pope Francis’ Season of Creation message 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.
Similarly, the average citizen in Pakistan is responsible for just over one tonne of greenhouse gas per year, while the average citizen of Ireland is responsible for over twelve tonnes of greenhouse gas. More globally, estimates indicate that greenhouse gas emissions in Africa represent only 4% of the world’s total, while 80% come from rich countries, including Ireland.*
Bishops, in praying for all those affected by climate change, 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.
Notes for Editors
- *The statistics refer to CDP, a not-for-profit charity, that runs a global disclosure system for public authorities, investors and companies in order to manage their environmental impact.
- Today in Rome – The Letter – Laudato Si’ Movement’s film will be premiered. The movie will feature Pope Francis, and will tell the story of how the climate crisis is affecting life on Earth. It will be accessible to everyone on YouTube Originals. This film is the fruit of many years of work between Laudato Si’ Movement; Off the Fence, the Oscar-winning production company for My Octopus Teacher; and, the Vatican. The movie starts at 5:30pm (Irish time) and will be available on: The letter (theletterfilm.org)
- Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’ on care for our common home, was published in 2015. This best-selling encyclical is developed around the concept of integral ecology, as a paradigm able to articulate the fundamental relationships of the person: with God, with one’s self, with other human beings, with creation.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Lisa Sheridan +353 (0) 86 084 3175.
Click here to subscribe to our weekly Sharing the Good News eZine