..."The draft encyclical says that while there may be other factors involved in climate change, "numerous scientific studies indicate that the majority of the global warming in recent decades is due to the large concentration of greenhouse gases... emitted above all due to human activity," according to a Huffington Post translation of the document.
The draft opens by saying climate change is the Earth’s way of protesting “irresponsible use and abuse of the goods that God placed in her.”
“We have grown up thinking that we were her owners and dominators, authorized to loot her,” the draft reads, according to a translation by The Guardian. “The violence that exists in the human heart, wounded by sin, is also manifest in the symptoms of illness that we see in the Earth, the water, the air and in living things.”
The document goes on to declare that access to clean drinking water is "an essential human right, fundamental and universal." It describes the disproportionate effects of climate change on poor populations, whose "livelihoods depend heavily on nature reserves." It also accuses those with more resources and greater economic power of "making the problems or hiding the symptoms" of climate change.
“The attitudes that stand in the way of a solution, even among believers, range from negation of the problem, to indifference, to convenient resignation or blind faith in technical solutions,” the draft reads. "Today we cannot help but recognize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach, which must integrate justice in the discussions of the environment, to hear the cry of the earth as much as the cry of the poor."
Bridget Mary's Response:
Pope Francis is prophetic in speaking truth to all especially the rich and powerful that care of the earth is a spiritual issue that affects the entire planet and all of humankind. It, indeed, is an issue of justice.
We are all beloved , equal members of God's family who share a responsibility for care for our common home so that all creation will flourish. We are our sisters and brothers keepers and cannot continue to oppress the poor and dominate their natural resources for our over consumption and greed. As Francis points out, we must deal with ecology as a moral and spiritual issue.
However, let us keep in mind that women and their dependent children make up two-thirds of the world's poor. The church's failure to support primacy of conscience in regard to women's decisions to regulate births by artificial means contributes to over population and its consequences -poverty, hunger, homelessness, violence, and terror- and the destruction of earth's resources. Therefore, care for our earth home must include treating women as spiritual equals and free moral agents in all areas of decision making and liturgical practice including sacramental ministry in the church itself. All of these issues are interrelated. Care for one another and care for the earth are all part of honoring the face of God in our midst. Therefore, ecology, justice and equality are on the front burner for Pope Francis and for all of us , but we must make the connections between care for the earth and the church's policies and treatment of women as second class citizens.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org