The Pope’s Encyclical Laudato Si’: on care for our common home, begins with these words.
“St Francis of Assisi reminds that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our sister, mother earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”. This Sister 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 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. This is why the earth herself……..”groans in travail” (Rom 8:22).We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (Gen:2:7)”
On Tuesday the 1st September I attended the prayers for the Care of Creation liturgy held at St Peter's Basilica, presided over by Pope Francis. The Basilica was full and the homily given by a Franciscan friar. The focus was the Encyclical Laudato Si’, drawing on the themes: What is happening to our common home?”, the Gospel of Creation, the human roots of the ecological crisis, integral ecology, lines of approach and action, and ecological education and spirituality.
The solidarity of most of the Vatican diplomatic corps and leaders of many denominations was very obvious at the liturgy, as it has been over recent weeks following the encyclical. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion have been very active in parallel themselves. Archbishop Thabo of South Africa called the whole Anglican Communion to pray on the same day, asking for this prayer to be used:
“Creator God, together with the whole church we pray for creation. We pray that we may safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth. May we all work together to care for creation, our common home. In Jesus name. Amen”
At the Anglican Centre in Rome we honoured the care of creation at our Tuesday Eucharist, highlighting the encyclical, St Francis and St Clare and the mandate we have from Genesis to tend this garden which is our dominion as servants of the One who created it. This kind of focus went on all over the world at the same time.
As the Paris talks approach it is clear that the religious conscience of the world is quickening, to urge great care and decisive action. Even if debates continue over the science and the prognosis of climate change outcomes, the priority and urgency of our task as responsible and vigilant stewards and caretakers is not negotiable. This is God’s earth and our home, we cannot take the risk of it choking or cooking.
Vatican Radio report
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