BY ISN STAFF | November 17, 2017
Washington, D.C. – The Ignatian Solidarity Network has joined with the leaders of 161 Catholic colleges and universities, religious congregations, national organizations, and health care providers, serving people and communities in every state of the nation, issuing a letter to the Trump Administration and Congress, asking them to:
- Support the Senate’s request to provide $10m to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);
- Participate meaningfully in the deliberations of the UNFCCC; and
- Honor our nation’s commitment to the Green Climate Fund.
In the letter, the Catholic leaders affirm the Church’s longstanding commitment to care for creation and our poor and vulnerable neighbors, and reiterate the U.S. bishops’ call to act upon the widely-accepted understanding of climate change science.
“This letter demonstrates a broad, unified Catholic desire for American leadership on climate change” said Most Rev. Richard Pates, Bishop of Des Moines and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)-appointed Liaison to Catholic Climate Covenant. “Catholic concern for climate change as a moral issue goes back to Pope John Paul II. Faithful to the Church’s consistent teaching, Catholics in the United States will tirelessly urge our elected leaders to address one of the most pressing modern issues.”
Presidents of 23 Jesuit colleges and universities signed the letter, continuing and ongoing response to Pope Francis’s challenge to “care for our common home.” Since the release of Laudato Si’, the Ignatian network has demonstrated a deep desire to respond through education, prayer, and action, which counter the challenges facing all of humanity in the form of climate change.
In signing onto the letter, Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., President of Saint Louis University, said: “The issue of climate change should be as much of an institution-wide responsibility as living our mission. Answering Pope Francis’s compelling call in Laudato Si’ to be better stewards of creation is more than a papal request. It is a requisite response to living our Catholic values.”
“Now more than ever, we need to reflect on the ways our care for creation impacts the most vulnerable in our world,” says Christopher Kerr, the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s executive director. “This letter affirms ISN’s commitment to the lived expression of Laudato Si’, a continuation of our work of forming advocates for justice. Climate change is a moral issue and the Ignatian Solidarity Network stands with the Catholic community in urging the President and Congress to take action.”
Last month, ISN and the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States partnered to publish a new Ecological Examen, guiding reflection on an individual’s relationship with creation, on questions of ecological justice, and on standing in solidarity with those most impacted by environmental harm—in light of Laudato Si’.