A nation-wide initiative is under way to rally Catholic support behind two causes – protecting the environment and protecting the poor and vulnerable.
The first step in that direction – “your first step” – is to “take the St. Francis Pledge,” says an announcement of the campaign. The pledge is to
• PRAY and reflect on the duty to care for God’s Creation and protect the poor and vulnerable.
• LEARN about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change.
• ASSESS how we-as individuals and in our families, parishes and other affiliations-contribute to climate change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, etc.
• ACT to change our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to climate change.
• ADVOCATE for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable.
Pledges are being made in four categories: individual/family, parish, school, and organization.
I first learned of the campaign in a September 1 email attaching “Notes for Neighbors” from a department of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference. The note about the pledge explained:
“This October 4, celebrate the Feast of St. Francis by taking the St. Francis Pledge! Please encourage families, parishes, schools, and others in your diocese to take the pledge. The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change has developed new tools to assist parishes, schools, individuals, and organizations in caring for creation and learning more about Church teaching on climate change as articulated by Pope Benedict XVI and the U.S. Catholic Bishops and as embodied in the life and witness of St. Francis of Assisi.”