This year has showed us again how devastating the effects of climate change can be. We have seen fires ravage the entire west coast. They have caused billions of dollars of damage and multiple lives lost.
We have also been having an insane year of disturbances in the warming waters of the Atlantic Ocean. We have had so many named tropical storms that we are on to the Greek alphabet. As I’m writing this, Tropical Storm Beta is knocking at our door here in Houston. Flooding has already started. As for major storms, the southern United States have already seen Hurricane Hanna, Hurricane Isaias, Hurricane Laura, and Hurricane Sally which all had significant detrimental effects. These hurricanes caused billions of dollars of damage and multiple lives to be lost.
These natural disasters and the fact that they are continuing to worsen each year is of great concern to people all over the world. That includes the greater than 1 billion Catholics of the world. When something is on the forefront of the minds of Catholics, they often wonder, “Does the Catholic Church have an opinion on this?”
When it comes to climate change, the answer is yes. Last year I was able to make a short video explaining the science and the Catholic Church’s teachings on care for nature and the planet. The short summation is this: God is the creator of all; He created us as a part of nature, and it is our job as a part of it to care for all of His creation. This is laid out in the book of Genesis when man is given dominion over all the earth.
Our current pope, Pope Francis, has been one of the most outspoken popes when it comes to our duty as Catholics to take care of the earth. In 2015 he wrote an encyclical called “Laudato Si” which has the subtitle, “On Care for our Common Home”. In this writing he calls for the world to come together in a swift and unified action to take better care of nature in a number of different ways.
Since then he has also gotten a large number of organizations around the globe to take actions to reduce their carbon footprint. He often holds events surrounding October 4th, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the pope’s namesake and another strong advocate for taking care of nature.
The greatest of these is proposing Catholics celebrate a “Season of Creation”. This season begins with the World Day of Prayer for Creation on September 1st every year and runs through October 4th. It is during this time that Christians worldwide are called to “renew their faith in the God of creation and join in prayer and work for the care of our common home.”
Since we are currently in this Season of Creation, the pope has spoken on this topic a number of times recently. He spoke at length about it in his general audience last Wednesday. (Highlights can be found here: LINK) Then this past week he has also been tweeting some points that can help us to contemplate our role in nature. Here are some examples.
All around us we can see the devastation. We see the impacts that our consumerism and lack of care for our common home have caused. What can we do about it? How can we help to care for our common home? This will look different for all of us, but I hope that you will take some time this week and reflect on the words of our Church’s leader. Take these short little tweets to prayer. See if there is any wisdom and personal insight that you can gain when you speak to God about how He wants you to care for His creation.
For more information on events happening during the next few weeks of the Season of Creation, including opportunities for you to join in action or prayer, visit this website: https://seasonofcreation.org/