Pope Francis launches 7-year action plan to foster ‘green’ spirituality, economics, education

Pope Francis talks as he leads the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican. | Reuters

By CP

Pope Francis announced a seven-year action platform to achieve a “fully sustainable” future and prepare a “better tomorrow for all” through collaborating to restore the Earth’s “original beauty” in a new ecological initiative.

The Laudato Si’ Action Platform launched Tuesday is a “seven-year journey” to help communities become “fully sustainable, in the spirit of integral ecology” to create a “more inclusive, fraternal, peaceful and sustainable world.”

The seven objectives the platform will focus on are “the response to the cry of the Earth, the response to the cry of the poor, green economics, adopting a simple lifestyle, green education, green spirituality, and community engagement.”

In a video message, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church said the “wounds” humans caused on the Earth due to a “predatory attitude” manifested themselves in “an unprecedented ecological crisis that affects the soil, air, water and, in general, the ecosystem in which human beings live.”

Due to this, he said humans need “a new ecological approach” to transform the way humans inhabit the Earth and live life. The pope said taking care of the Earth is necessary for future generations.

“We have a great responsibility, especially with future generations. What world do we want to leave our children and our young people?” Pope Francis asked in Tuesday’s video message, according to an English translation released by the Vatican.

“Our selfishness, our indifference and our irresponsibility threaten their future! I therefore renew my appeal: let us take care of our mother Earth, let us overcome the temptation of selfishness that makes us predators of resources, let us cultivate respect for the gifts of the Earth and creation, let us finally inaugurate a lifestyle and society that is finally eco-sustainable: we have the opportunity to prepare a better tomorrow for all,” Pope Francis said.

“From the hands of God we have received a garden; we cannot leave our children a desert,’ he continued.

The initiative will work with families, parishes and dioceses, schools and universities,  hospitals, companies and agricultural estates, organizations, groups and movements and religious institutions to achieve its goal.

The pope initially addressed the issue through an encyclical letter from 2015 called Laudato Si’. The letter focused “on care for our common home” and discussed the importance of taking care of the Earth and issues such as pollution and climate change.

“This sister [Earth] now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her,” the pope wrote in the letter.

“We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.”

Last May, Pope Francis declared the special anniversary year for Laudato Si’. The organization of the anniversary year was entrusted to the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development and is now a “concrete action project.” The anniversary year ran from May 24, 2020, to May 24, 2021.

The Vatican dicastery, Eco-Jesuit, the Pan-Amazonian Church Network, the Global Catholic Climate Movement, the Union of Religious Superiors in Rome and other Catholic groups are also involved with the new program, according to The Catholic News Agency.

Pope Francis ended his Tuesday video message with encouragement for the next seven years.

“There is hope. We can all collaborate, each one with their own culture and experience, each with their own initiatives and capacities, so that our mother Earth recovers its original beauty and creation can shine again according to God’s plan,” the pope stressed.

“May God bless each of you and bless our mission to rebuild our common home.”

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