Young Catholics announce new movement on climate crisis

Young Catholics announce new movement on climate crisis

Strikes by lay leaders broaden diversity of global day of action on May 24

Young Catholics are announcing a new initiative to mobilize action on climate change in the 1.2-billion-strong Catholic Church. The initiative, Laudato Si’ Generation, is driving young Catholics’ participation in the global climate strikes planned for Friday, 24 May.

The strikes that are planned for 24 May coincide with the fourth anniversary of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change and ecology. They build on a recent meeting between Pope Francis and Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish student who inspired the strikes. In a video shared just after their meeting, Thunberg reflects on her conversation with Pope Francis and calls young people to stand up for urgent action to solve the climate catastrophe.

Laudato Si’ Generation has already achieved success by delivering a manifesto for action on climate change during World Youth Day. The manifesto calls on bishops and other Church leaders to accelerate the implementation of Laudato Si’, and urges political leaders to achieve a transition to the clean economy. The manifesto was accepted by Cardinal Tagle, president of Caritas Internationalis, on behalf of the Church.

The young Catholics in Laudato Si’ Generation are reaching new constituencies in countries that have not been deeply engaged by more secular- and European-focused climate activists. Actions on 24 May will take place in 50+ locations in the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia. These regions are among those most severely affected by the climate crisis, with young people in particular bearing the consequences of a hotter world.

Actions for the global climate strikes will take a variety of forms. As one example, in Trinidad and Tobago students at 20 Catholic schools will present a letter calling on the Archbishop of Port of Spain to take strong action on climate change. The Holy See’s Apostolic Nuncio to Trinidad and Tobago will be present to accept the letter.

As another example, young people in the United States will hold a prayer service in Seattle’s St. James Cathedral and then stage a symbolic “die-in” in front of government buildings. During the die-in, young people will lie on the ground and remain still, a symbolic gesture intended to convey the consequences of inaction on the climate crisis.

Fr. Joshtrom Kureethadam, Coordinator of the Sector on Ecology and Creation in the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said, “Young people are facing an uncertain future. Pope Francis recently met Greta Thunberg and encouraged her to continue taking action that protects our common home. Friday, May 24, is the fourth anniversary of Laudato Si’ and the occasion of the next global strike for action on climate change. We encourage decision-makers everywhere to listen to young Catholics’ call for urgent and ambitious policy changes to secure a 1.5-degree future.”

Maria Agustina Rodriguez Ortiz de Rozas, who is organizing a climate strike in Argentina, said, “Others have the greatest responsibility for causing the climate crisis, but my generation and those that follow will bear the burden of its consequences. Today, we say no more. We’re taking back our future, and this is only the beginning.”

Tomás Insua, Executive Director of Global Catholic Climate Movement, said, “We have 11 short years to cut emissions by half or more. Since the very beginnings of our faith, prophets have spoken truth to power. Now, truth-tellers among the young are lifting up their voices to the mighty. Change is coming, and the only choice decision-makers have to make is whether they’ll stand on the right side of history.”

Laudato Si’ Generation is the youth branch of Global Catholic Climate Movement, and is led by young representatives of Catholic organizations from around the world of whom IYCS is currently the Co-Chair of the coalition.

Source: Laudato Si Generation

Leave a Reply