As people of Faith, we are convinced that "the earth is the Lord's and all it holds
.We believe our response to global climate change should be a sign of our respect for God's creation. (Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good, US Catholic Bishops, 2001)
As Catholics, we have a rich heritage of faith, tradition, and social teaching to draw upon as we seek to live the Gospel faithfully in our own time and situation. As a community of faith, we seek to protect the dignity of every person and promote the common good of the human family, particularly the most vulnerable among us. The Church champions the rights of the unborn, seeks to bring dignity to the poor, works to overcome the scourge of racism and welcomes the stranger among us.
Today, our Catholic community is addressing more consistently and faithfully how to protect God's creation and the environment that sustains the human family and all the earth. As Pope John Paul II said, "respect for life and for the dignity of the human person extends also to the rest of creation, which is called to join man in praising God." We show our respect for our Creator by our care for His creation.
Today, there is a particular and pressing responsibility to examine and act on the growing challenge of global climate change and its implications for God's creation and for the poor and vulnerable. During his angelus address on August 27, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI called for a commitment to care for creation. He said creation is "exposed to serious risks by life choices and lifestyles that can degrade it. In particular, he said, "environmental degradation makes the lives of the poor especially unbearable."
The U.S. Catholic bishops have declared, "At its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God's creation and the one human family. It is about protecting both 'the human environment' and the natural environment." (Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2001, p.1).
In parishes, dioceses and other Catholic organizations, we encourage efforts to bring about a discussion on climate change that is civil and constructive, that invokes the virtue of prudence in seeking solutions, and that is more responsive to the needs of the poor, both here in the United States and abroad. As Catholics, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to make a difference in addressing the potential impacts of global climate change, particularly on those least able to bear its burdens.
Pope Benedict XVI called us to defend and safeguard creation. "In dialogue with Christians of various churches, we need to commit ourselves to caring for the created world, without squandering its resources, and sharing them in a cooperative way," he insisted.
We hope the materials on this website, Faithful Stewards of God's Creation: A Catholic Resource for Environmental Justice, will provide you with information you can use to better understand the important connections between our Catholic faith and the environment, and the urgency of addressing the moral and human dimensions of climate change.
Most Rev. Thomas G. Wenski
International Policy Committee
Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio
Domestic Policy Committee