By Linda Bordoni
The Church has much to contribute to new EU ecological policies. That’s why participants in COMECE’s Autumn Assembly are engaging with EU officials to help steer the post-EU election policy-making process.
Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, President of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), told Vatican Radio that, in the spirit of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Sì, the Bishops’ contribution to ecological policies centered on persons, families and communities is much appreciated on institutional and policy levels.
He said that during the 3-day meeting, in dialogue with representatives of the EU Commission, Bishop-delegates will analyse and discuss the priorities and organisation for the incoming European Commission.
Cardinal Hollerich expressed his belief that the EU is a key player in international environmental politics.
“The EU is among the powers – if I can call it a power - one of the political entities that takes the environmental question seriously and wants to act upon it,” he said.
He noted that in the declaration of the future head of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, much space was dedicated to environmental politics.
EU looking to the Church for input
Hollerich also revealed that he received a letter of congratulations for the October 13 Consistory (during which he was made Cardinal) from the Commissioner in Charge of environmental politics, and said, the letter was very positive: “He was looking for dialogue with the Catholic Church on these elements”.
“Europe fails sometimes on many points, but environment is perhaps one point where Europe can shine a little bit,” he said
Highlighting moral issues
Hollerich also noted that the Church highlights a range of issues, such as the fact that it is partly due to our consumeristic attitude in Europe that forests are set ablaze in the Amazon “because we want to buy cheap meat and so on”.
We need to make an examination of conscience about our consumeristic attitude, and “we have to look to the flow of money”.
“A lot of money gained by immoral practices is parked in Europe,” the Cardinal noted.
So, Hollerich explained, we have all this to bring to the table as well as involvement in concrete measures looking to what the European Union proposes for the years to come.
Persons, families, communities
He stressed that at the heart of the Church’s message on integral ecology is the fact that man is part of the environment.
As Catholics, he said, “we do not just see man as an individual in this world”.
Good environmental policies, he concluded, must bear in mind that persons, families and communities should be much more taken into consideration than they are at present.