The California Conference of Catholic Bishops have produced ‘God Calls Us All to Care for Our Common Home,’ a Pastoral Statement on the fourth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home.
The statement, according to the California Bishops was published with a two-fold vision – “To animate and energize the implementation in California of what Laudato Si’ calls us to do, and to offer a dynamic teaching and evangelization tool for our Catholic faith community and beyond, especially for young people.
“We propose a practical application of the Laudato Si’ message of ecological spirituality—that the ecological well-being of California is meant to be deeply embedded in a spirituality that unites all creatures and all creation in praising God.
“Our Catholic doctrine offers a rich teaching on the theology of creation and our role and meaning in the world. It is in this context that we invite the people of California to reflect together on ways we can more faithfully and effectively care for creation as a hymn of thanksgiving for our common home,” the bishops said.
In the first part of the pastoral statement, the bishops reflect on the beauty of the state of California and the challenges it faces from different parts of the environment – including fire, water and wind/air.
“How do we learn to perceive creation as open to God’s transcendence? How could we deepen our faith so as to enter into the mysterious beauty of what is unfolding in God’s creation? How can we grow in our belief that creation is a common good? ” the bishops ask.
When we can see God reflected in all that exists, our hearts are moved to praise the Lord for all his creatures and to worship him in union with them. (Laudato Si’ 87)
“California faces significant new challenges as we seek to find balance between welcoming new residents and creating the infrastructure necessary to provide housing, water, education, and jobs, while at the same time preserving our fertile farmland and protecting the integrity of our natural resources.
“A Catholic perspective on environmentalism is expressed by concern for creatures and land, but also for where people live, work, play, and pray. Land-use decisions play a crucial role in environmental justice—the integration of social justice and environmental protection—and in public health,” the bishops said.
The second part of the pastoral statement “invites everyone to reflect upon the call to contribute to the ecological well-being of our state based on our own “ecological vocations” – and to live them out fully, with prayer and joy, to foster integral ecology and the common good.”
Youth and young adults:
Young people have a new ecological sensitivity and a generous spirit, and some of them are making admirable efforts to protect the environment. (Laudato Si’ 209)
- Parents, teachers and catechists:
Ecological education can take place in a variety of settings: at school, in families, in the media, in catechesis, and elsewhere. (Laudato Si’ 213)
Environmental education should facilitate making the leap towards the transcendent which gives ecological ethics its deepest meaning. It needs educators capable of developing an ethics of ecology, and helping people, through effective pedagogy, to grow in solidarity, responsibility, and compassionate care. (Laudato Si’ 210)
- Public officials:
Today, in view of the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life. (Laudato Si’ 189)
What is needed is a politics which is far-sighted and capable of a new, integral and inter-disciplinary approach to handling the different aspects of the crisis….A healthy politics needs to be able to take up this challenge. (Laudato Si’ 197)
- Leaders in business:
Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving our world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the areas in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good. (Laudato Si’ 129)
- Those who work the land and care for it:
Let us, when we give thanks to God at our meals (Laudato Si’ 227), express our gratitude to those who work the land. Your vocation has a special dignity and fosters the common good of society.
- Artist and innovators:
If an artist cannot be stopped from using his or her creativity, neither should those who possess particular gifts for the advancement of science and technology be prevented from using their God-given talents for the service of others. (Laudato Si’ 131)
To read the full pastoral statement from the California Conference of Catholic Bishops, click here.
With thanks to the California Conference of Catholic Bishops.