Nurturing an ecological vocation
One of the urgent issues facing us as our Gospel meets the reality of the world is our calling to be carers for God's creation. This is for our generation a key measure of how seriously we live out the Gospel. CASE is grateful to Ellen Teague for signposting some of the ways we can love the world that God loves and evangelise the culture of waste and destruction.
‘ A way of life that damages God's creation, forces the poor into greater poverty, and threatens the right of future generations to a healthy environment and to their fair share of the earth's wealth and resources, is contrary to the vision of the Gospel.' The Call of Creation p1
On the eve of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in August 2002, Pope John Paul called upon Catholics to develop an “ecological vocation”. Relevant ideas have been suggested by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales in their document, The Call of Creation .
The Eco-Congregation programme has been devised to help churches take spiritual and practical steps to care for God's creation. There are study modules, an award scheme and a process to help churches undertake an environmental audit. Currently, only a handful of more than 200 parishes involved are Catholic. There is now an eco-schools project too. Operation Noah is the new climate change campaign organised by Christian Ecology Link (CEL). Participants are encouraged to sign the Climate Covenant, undertaking to reduce their energy consumption and change to “green energy” . There will be an official launch in Coventry on Saturday 9 October. CEL's 'LOAF' principles encourage the consumption of food which is L ocally produced, O rganically grown, A nimal friendly and F airly traded.
Links can be made with CAFOD to promote the UN's millennium development goals, which include care of the environment, and provision of water. And with Pax Christi too. In his 1990 message for the World Day of Peace, the Pope stated that, “today, any form of war on a global scale would lead to incalculable ecological damage”. He hoped that Christians would “realise that their responsibility within creation and their duty towards nature and the Creator are an essential part of their faith”.
www. ecocongregation .org