Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, called on the faithful to commit themselves to the protection of the environment.
The Filipino cardinal, who also heads Caritas Internationalis, said everyone must give a “pledge of action” to allow “the environment a break from all our demands and wants.”
The prelate made the call during the launching of the “2021 National Laudato si Program” of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on March 3.
“As part of creation, we should also be a living prayer to God … but at the same time we pray for creation because creation exists for us and for other creations,” said Cardinal Tagle in his message.
He said the human family must take action to protect creation “because it always exists to sustain us.” The Church leader urged the public to “live simply” to be able to “give creation the time to rest.”
The former archbishop of Manila said Pope Francis’ encyclical on the “Care for our Common Home” is “not a green document but part of the social teachings of the Church.”
He said the pontiff wrote the encyclical Laudato si’ from scriptures and traditions of the Church to see how Christians “could bring the faith to the transformation of society.”
The cardinal said the encyclical challenges the entire human family to engage in ecological conversion, fight for ecological justice, and pursue ecological actions.
In June 2020, the Vatican released a 200-page document that aims to inspire and guide Christians to act on the call of the Church to promote integral ecology and care of creation.
The text titled “On the Journey for Care of the Common Home” guides the public how to perform personal tasks to achieve concrete measures, such as diet, recycling, and divestment on dirty energy sources, among others.
In the Philippines, the Catholic Church has laid out the implementing guidelines of the “National Laudato si’ Program that require a “whole-of-nation” approach.
Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, president of the Philippine bishops’ conference said the national program is an active “response to the urgent issue” of the worsening condition of the planet.
He said countless people have already suffered and many more are still suffering due to the climate crisis, but “hope is not lost” because more people are “starting to act to care for our Common Home.”
He said that while climate emergency is a global issue that needs global action, people from poor countries, like the Philippines, “are most vulnerable.”
In a LiCAS.news interview, Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, head of Caritas Philippines, said the first step in solving ecological problems is to admit that “we have sinned against and violated our Mother Earth.”
“Now, after abusing the environment for so long, it is our obligation to give it time to regenerate and allow it to provide us the future,” he said.