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English, Welsh Bishops call for protection of environment

The Bishops of England and Wales focus this year’s Pastoral Letter for Pentecost on the protection of the environment, emphasizing that “the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church is not something separate from Creation”.

By Lisa Zengarini

As the Church celebrates Laudato si’ Week, ending the Special Anniversary Year of the publication of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter on care for our common home (24 May 2015), the Bishops of England and Wales release their message for Pentecost.

The Bishops are urging Catholics across the UK to use the Feast of Pentecost as an opportunity to pray and contribute to repairing the damage inflicted on the Earth, so as to ensure a healthy planet for future generations.

God’s creation: precious gift entrusted to each generation

“Our world, God’s creation, is a precious gift to us. It is our common home entrusted to each generation,” the Bishops point out. 

They recall that “Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have both taught us that everything is interconnected and interdependent” and that “the way we live our everyday lives has an impact on everyone and on the earth”, especially in the poorest countries.

Part to play in protecting our common home

While emphasizing the urgent need for a “new global understanding of our world, where nations recognise our common responsibility for the dignity of all people and their rights to sustainable livelihoods, in authentic freedom,” the Pastoral Letter remarks that the healing of our common home and the wellbeing and care of all, especially the poor and the marginalised, cannot be left “merely to a response from industry and governments.”

“We all have a part to play, each and every one of us, in the routines, choices and decisions of our everyday lives and our aspirations for the future,” the Bishops write. 

They note that there are now many resources, freely available, to advise on the choice of food, saving of water and electricity, suggestions about travel, waste, and re-use.

“These are measures that everyone can employ, in some degree, with minimal inconvenience and change. They are effective ways in which we can each reaffirm our personal vocation to be stewards of creation,” they write.

Presence of the Holy Spirit

The Bishops recall that the United Kingdom is expected to host the next G-7 in June and the 26th UN Conference on climate change, (COP26) in November, in which “defining choices and policies” will be made to help the world build back better after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pastoral letter concludes with a reminder that “in all our human endeavours, we need the presence of the Holy Spirit, ‘the Lord, the Giver of Life’.”

The Bishops therefore call on the faithful to keep the Feast of the Pentecost with “that enduring hope that we can begin to repair the damage we have done and provide a healthy home for future generations.”

17 May 2021, 15:38