18 June PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release

Politicians must follow the Pope, say Christian conservationists

National Governments should follow the Pope’s example and take ‘meaningful action’ on climate change. That’s the message from Christian conservation charity A Rocha.

A Rocha has welcomed the new Papal Encyclical Laudato Si (Praise be to you) – with its strong moral message on the environment. A Rocha urges all churches to read and reflect on the encyclical, and to put pressure on their respective Governments for the forthcoming United Nations talks on climate change at Paris in December 2015.

‘At a time when humanity’s actions are having an unprecedented negative impact on God’s world, it is vital that Christians of all denominations – along with those of other faiths and of no religious faith – unite to protect creation’s integrity,’ said the Revd. Dave Bookless, Director of Theology for A Rocha International. As leader of a billion-strong global community, Pope Francis has taken ‘an important stance of great moral leadership’ in linking Christian faith to tackling global poverty and environmental destruction.

‘As the encyclical’s subtitle states, the earth is a “common home” shared by all living creatures and entrusted, under God, to the care of humanity,’ said Dr. Ruth Valerio, Director of Churches and Theology for A Rocha UK.

The Encyclical is a substantial document, requiring careful study. However, according to A Rocha’s Revd. Dave Bookless, ‘Even from a first impression, it is a document deeply rooted in biblical reflection and based on careful academic science.’ It also explicitly draws on a long tradition of Catholic social and ecological teaching reaching back to St Francis of Assisi. Dave comments, ‘It is particularly encouraging to see a profound concern for biodiversity alongside a passion for those trapped in material poverty and trapped in over-consumption. The concept of “integral ecology”, where the needs of ecosystems, human societies, and economic flourishing have to be considered together, is commended as particularly important in framing how our global community takes responsibility for protecting and restoring our common home. All Christians, and people of all faiths and none, would do well to reflect deeply on this profoundly important document.’

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