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European Catholic bishops call for regional action ahead of Paris climate talks

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany, arrives for the morning session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 16. Photo by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic News Service
Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany, arrives for the morning session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 16. Photo by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic News Service

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany, arrives for the morning session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 16. Photo by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic News Service

PARIS (RNS) Climate change and the refugee crisis are the two biggest challenges facing Europe that need a unified response recognizing the “ecological debt” richer nations owe poorer ones, the president of Europe’s Roman Catholic bishops conference said on Thursday (Oct. 29).

“We need solidarity,” said Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, who also heads the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community. “The church can speak out and say it’s absolutely necessary to act now in solidarity, especially in Europe.”

Representing the 28 European Union member states, the bishops’ conference is holding a three-day meeting in Paris partly aimed at defining a course of regional action on global warming, ahead of December’s climate change summit. Bishops are also discussing ways to respond to the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers who have flocked to Europe.

“We need to stop the war, it’s clear,” Marx said of the conflicts raging in Syria and Iraq that have helped trigger the massive exodus. “But the people are here and we need solidarity.”

On Monday, Catholic leaders from five continents issued a 10-point appeal for climate negotiators to come to a just and “truly transformational” climate agreement in Paris that supports the poorest people and nations. The statement is based on Pope Francis’ June encyclical on climate change that calls for action, especially on the part of richer nations.

In November, the European bishops’ conference is expected to release an expert report detailing action and discussion items on climate change in response to the encyclical.

European church officials have also organized a series of activities leading up to the climate conference, including fasts, marches, conferences and seminars that will also include Jewish, Buddhist and Protestant leaders, among others.

On Wednesday, the French Muslim Council also issued a statement urging its faithful to mobilize to “preserve the planet.”

Still, Marx acknowledged the church had been slow in forging a climate action plan. “The church can learn from the world,” he said, in “understanding the signs of the times.”

YS/AMB END BRYANT

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Elizabeth Bryant

4 Comments

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  • Might I ask whether the Bishop endorses fabricating global temperature to show warming? For what other interpretation is there when NOAA have refused to defend their warming adjustments to the US congressional committee charged with oversight?

    As the satellites continue to show no warming, It appears the only reason these “human adjusted” temperatures show any warming is because of that human adjustment, leaving them with no credibility.

  • As important as climate change may be, I fail to see any value in a Catholic Bishop’s conference on the matter. The Pope has spoken to the world on the morality of the issue but the Church has no responsibility to lead the world in this secular pursuit. Countries, industries, and people are under no obligation to heed the advice of the Church on a matter that is not in their field of expertise. W

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