The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines called for concerted action to care for the “common home” as the Church marks the seventh anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’ this week.
“I recommend … that you take this opportunity to exercise the genuine sense of Catholicity by reaching out to other fellow Christians, fellow believers, and fellow environmental advocates in the spirit of dialogue, solidarity, and social friendship,” said Bishop Pablo Virgilio David in an interview over Radio Veritas 846.
The prelate, who is also bishop of the Diocese of Kalookan, said the Laudato si’ Week observance should be an opportunity to create awareness in communities on the threat of the worsening climate crisis.
“Like I have said on many occasions before, there is no Planet B waiting for us out there,” said Bishop David. “The earth is our one and only home; and our creator has entrusted it to our care as his stewards,” he added.
This year’s Laudato si’ Week observance, which opened on Sunday, May 22, carries the theme “Listening and Journeying Together.”
In a homily he delivered earlier this week, Bishop David urged Catholic institutions to avoid accepting donations from companies that are involved in the destruction of the environment.
The prelate reminded the faithful that “we are mere caretakers or stewards of creation, not its owners.”
“Unfortunately, we have often misunderstood our role. The evil one has a way of getting us deluded about what God meant when he commanded us to ‘have dominion over the earth,’” he said.
The bishop, however, encouraged environmental advocates to not give up on people who work for businesses that harm Mother Earth.
“I am sure there are many people of good will who just happened to find a job with a company that is involved [in dirty projects],” he said. “We can learn a lesson on how to get them on our side the way Paul had succeeded in getting the jail guard on his side,” said Bishop David, citing the New Testament.
“We too can get the abusers of the environment on our side,” he said.