The Rt Hon Lord Deben (John Selwyn Gummer), chair of the UK’s committee on climate change, told an online gathering this week that Catholics must take climate change more seriously, following the inspirational lead of Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ and in the context of November’s UN Climate talks in Glasgow, scheduled for 1-12 November.
His talk, ‘Climate Change: The Gospel Imperative’, was organised by the Catholic Union on 23 March. “The Church has got it right on this” he said, “and I am missionary about it.” He told participants he used Laudato Si’ insights even when talking to secular audiences and that they were very appreciative. “Pope Francis has brought us back to the Gospel imperatives, particularly to help those less fortunate,” he said.
“Catholics must be clear”, he said, that “action on climate change is part of Catholic Social Teaching” and “this battle is for all of us.” He urged Catholics to bring the issue “into our prayers and our liturgy,” and preach the gospel “in a way that is relevant”.
He felt young people understand our duty to the environment, and we must support their desire not to inherit a world that is impoverished. “All stewards hand back something better and that is our duty” he said, “our duty as Catholics too.”
Lord Deben urged participants to remember that, “climate change makes extreme weather and pandemics more likely.”