French bishops call for ‘integral ecology’ in response to climate change | earth beat
Oxford, England — France’s Catholic bishops have stepped up calls for “integral ecology” to protect the environment while warning citizens not to “wait for a savior or a messiah” after the April 10 first round of presidential elections.
“Our Western societies are aware that their remarkable development has been at the expense of other regions of the world – that their race towards growth has only been possible by polluting or destroying other spaces,” said Msgr. Éric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, France, president of the French bishops’ conference, said April 8 after the bishops’ plenary meeting in Lourdes.
“We must dare to denounce the structures of sin and proclaim that other ways of human life are possible. … We are not condemned to behave like predators, sowing death and desolation on the earth,” declared the archbishop.
His call came as French voters prepared for the first round of the April 10 presidential election, in which President Emmanuel Macron faces a tough challenge from far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
Bishop Moulins-Beaufort said a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released April 4 points to the need for a “drastic change in consumption, production, transportation and heating patterns.”
Affirming that France was “particularly privileged” to have an “easy and fruitful” climate, Bishop Moulins-Beaufort warned that the country was also home to young people “living in the anguish of tomorrow” and “individuals and families anguished by rising costs” who struggled to feed themselves.
Bishops across the country will continue “to work for an integral ecology,” Bishop Moulins-Beaufort said, while monitoring the “collective progress” made by other Catholic dioceses and parishes.
“The love of Christ moves us to be close to distant brothers and sisters who are the first to feel the impact of climate change, to be close to all forms of life, rejoicing in our interdependence,” said the Archbishop, who was re-elected for a second term in plenary.
The four-day meeting came amid the final days of campaigning before voters head to the polls. Election watchers expect Le Pen, who campaigned on an anti-European Union, anti-NATO and pro-Russia platform, to face center-right Macron in the April 24 runoff.
In his speech, Bishop Moulins-Beaufort said Catholics should also remember that all political power has been “relativized and put in its place” by Christ, adding that France would not develop “by pretending to surround with walls”.
“We will not elect a savior or a messiah, or someone who represents all the good to be done. We will choose a political leader, male or female, who should lead our country in uncertain times,” he said. .
“They won’t have a solution for everything, won’t be able to prevent all immigration, nor invent infinitely renewable, transportable, efficient energy. They won’t be able to change hearts either.”
The plenary also received reports on the implementation of ecclesiastical measures announced following an October report, which estimated that 330,000 children had been abused since the 1950s by French priests or church workers. .
Bishop Moulins-Beaufort said there was still work to be done to come to the aid of victims of abuse, but added that bishops had discovered “how right and good it is to acknowledge one’s sin” and were “starting to come out of complicity with the forces of death and the slavery of predation.