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Pope Francis Encyclical Letter is Released: Laudato Si, Care for Our Common Home
The Pope thanks all people working to protect the earth, our common home. Here the ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton responds.
Today the Encyclical letter, Laudato Si, of the Holy Father Francis on Care for Our Common Home, was released:
"The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded."The Advocacy office of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America responded to the Pope's encyclical this way:
Today, Pope Francis issued a clarion call for the care of God’s earth; for humanity to come together to protect the planet that God created, which sustains us and our fellow creatures. In an encyclical, or Catholic teaching document, the Pope outlines the ecological challenges we face and calls on individuals, institutions and governments to take action.
In a statement released this morning, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton praised the encyclical, noting parallels to our own social statement “Caring for Creation” and calling for action: “The present moment is a critical one, filled with both challenge and opportunity to act as individuals, citizens, leaders and communities of faith in solidarity with God’s good creation and in hope for our shared future.”
The encyclical speaks to a variety of current ecological issues, but prominently calls for action on climate change and expresses particular concern for those who are most impacted by the earth’s changing climate—those living in poverty around the world. In a year where countries are negotiating a new global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help poor countries and communities build their resilience to the effects of climate change, the Pope’s message to our world leaders could not come at a better time.
You can send a message to U.S. leaders now, calling for a strong climate agreement! Sign an interfaith petition on climate change by clicking here to urge President Obama and Members of Congress to take strong action to combat climate change before it’s too late. Add your voice to a growing chorus of people of faith who are holding our leaders accountable on this critical issue!
Here is Bishop Eaton's entire statement:
ELCA statement on Pope Francis encyclical
As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we share a deep concern with our Catholic brothers and sisters for the well-being of our neighbors and of God’s good creation. “Humans, in service to God, have special roles on behalf of the whole of creation. Made in the image of God, we are called to care for the earth as God cares for the earth” (ELCA social statement, “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice”).
Daily we see and hear the evidence of a rapidly changing climate. At the same time, we also witness in too many instances how the earth’s natural beauty, a sign of God’s wonderful creativity, has been defiled by pollutants and waste.
An accounting of climate change that has credibility and integrity must name the neglect and carelessness of private industry and the failure of government leadership that have contributed to these changes. However, it also must include repentance for our own participation as individual consumers and investors in economies that make intensive and insistent demands for energy.
Yet we find our hope in the promise of God’s own faithfulness to the creation and humankind. We serve in concert with God’s creative and renewing power, understanding that we have the resources and responsibility to act together for the common good, especially for those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Today we join with Pope Francis in calling on world leaders to embrace our common responsibility as work continues toward a global agreement on climate change. We urge leaders to support an ambitious agreement that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, encourages development of low-carbon technologies, and supports the ability of countries to cope with the effects of a changing climate and build resiliency for a sustainable future.
The present moment is a critical one, filled with both challenge and opportunity to act as individuals, citizens, leaders and communities of faith in solidarity with God’s good creation and in hope for our shared future.
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
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