Pope’s climate exhortation a clarion call, say NZ Bishops

Published on 13th Oct, 2023

Pope Francis’ Laudate Deum climate change exhortation is a clarion call, says the Catholic Bishop of Auckland, Bishop Stephen Lowe.

“Laudate Deum is a clarion call to us all, as individuals, as industry and as nations, to examine whether our attitudes and actions towards care of mother Earth are consistent with the passing on of this taonga, this treasure, to our future generations,” says Bishop Lowe, who is also President of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference.

Overnight, New Zealand time, Pope Francis published a document he called Laudate Deum (Latin for Praise God), addressed to “all people of goodwill on the climate crisis.” Laudate Deum is an “Apostolic Exhortation” building on his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’ (Praise be to you) on the care of our common home, the Earth. Its publication coincides with the start of a major Synod of bishops, priests and lay people in Rome that is discussing the future direction of the Catholic Church.

“Already, within our islands, we have seen the unprecedented storms including the January storm event in Auckland and the massive destruction of Cyclone Gabrielle,” says Bishop Lowe. “In the South Island we have seen the rapid receding of our glaciers. Within our nation we have a growing number of people from Kiribati and yet we forget they are here as climate refugees as their islands and many islands of the Pacific become subject to rising sea levels. To our south the melting of Antarctica is a growing concern.

“At Mass we often pray the Confiteor, the prayer where we confess not only ‘what I have done’, but also ‘what I have failed to do’. And yet so easily we can be oblivious to our ‘sin’, and, in the climate case, be dismissive of what is shaping up to be a massive global challenge,” said Bishop Lowe.

“The Holy Father exhorts us in Laudate Deum to be involved, in our homes and in our spheres of influence, because ‘every little bit helps’.”

Bishop Lowe adds that Pope Francis says in Laudate Deum: “Yet what is important is something less quantitative: the need to realise that there are no lasting changes without cultural changes, without a maturing of lifestyles and convictions within societies, and there are no cultural changes without personal changes (LD 70).”

Laudate Deum is online here.

Vatican News has an article on Laudate Deum here.

Additionally, Caritas Aotearoa NZ – the Catholic bishops’  international aid and development agency —  has published two articles on Laudate Deum:

What does Laudate Deum mean for climate action in Aotearoa New Zealand?

How does Laudate Deum relate to the work of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand?

Source: The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference

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