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Scotland reacts to Pope’s environmental encyclical with ‘help to save the world’ message

Archbishop Tartaglia, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, and the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund call for prayers and action to protect God's creation, including lobbying of the Prime Minister

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow today welcomed Pope Francis message on protecting the global environment in his first encyclical, Laudato Si.

“Pope Francis’ encyclical is capable of really changing minds and hearts and lifestyles,” Archbishop Tartaglia (above), president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, said. “I encourage everyone to pray over it, read it, ponder it, discuss it and put it into practice. It could—literally—help to save the world.

The much anticipated Papal document, officially released this morning and subtitled Care of our common home, says that only by radically reshaping our relationships with God, with our neighbours and with the natural world can we hope to tackle the threats facing our planet today. Science, the Holy Father insists, ‘is the best tool by which we can listen to the cry of the earth, while dialogue and education are the two keys that can ‘help us to escape the spiral of self-destruction which currently engulfs us.’

“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” was the question at the heart of the Pope’s reflections is the question.

The archbishop said: “I welcome Pope Francis wide-ranging instruction, Laudato Si (Praise Be) on the care of God’s creation as a timely and profound response to what is increasingly seen as an immensely pressing concern and unavoidable moral imperative to care justly and effectively for our natural environment which is shared by human beings and by all the creatures of the earth.”

He went on to say that the Holy Father ‘proposes a much-needed vision of an integral ecology which is able to articulate the fundamental relationships of the person: with God, with one’s self, with other human beings, and with the creation, adding that  in this vision, the Pope is able to address ‘such key environmental themes as pollution and climate change, the loss of biodiversity, global inequality and the decline in the quality of human life.’

“Pope Francis puts our moral responsibility for the creation at the centre of our religious duties: ‘For human beings…to destroy the biological diversity….by causing changes in its climate;…to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life—these are sins’” he said. “From now on, our examination of conscience needs to include these things too.”

Archbishop Tartaglia also commented on the the Pope’s calls for a ‘global ecological conversion’ which will change attitudes and policies and action with regard to the the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet, with regard to the inter-connectedness of everything in the world, with regard to technology and economics and progress.

Laudato Si calls for fossil fuels to be ‘progressively replaced without delay’ and calls for a ‘revolution’ to combat climate change, which the Pope says is largely man-made.

SCIAF, and agency of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, has launched an online petition on the strength of the Pope’s encyclical.

“Pope Francis calls on all people of goodwill to care for the world’s poorest people, for future generations and for the earth, our common home,” the charity says. “Inspired by his words, we join with Catholics worldwide, as part of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, and call on our Prime Minister and on other world leaders to take urgent action to prevent climate change pushing people deeper into poverty.

—   Sign the SCIAF petition to David Cameron here.

—   Read Laudato Si in full http://www.sconews.co.uk/news/45742/pope-francis-encyclical-laudato-si-in-full/

—   editor@sconews.co.uk




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