As this week begins with Gaudete Sunday, I can’t help but contemplate how we, who are working to bring Laudato Si’ into our lives and society, mirror characters in the gospel about Saint John the Baptist.
Like the multitude who went out to be baptized by John, full of joyous anticipation for the coming of the Messiah, we ask what must we do to bring to bear the good fruit of repentance and welcome Jesus?
We are also like John the Baptist, voices crying out in the wilderness of our communities that a new day is dawning. Like John, we rejoice in knowing Christ is present in our world. We know the promise of His redeeming grace. We know with the Holy Spirit, He is still here, speaking eloquently to us through nature, through our fellow human beings, through the very depths of our own concerns and desires.
Our joy springs from knowing that we have enormous support from Pope Francis to continue spreading the message of an intricately interconnected world. He reminds us “The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home.” LS 13
THE STORY – A new name and living our mission on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Its official! We are now Mouvement Laudato Si’ Movement – Canada (MLSM Canada). Our new name reflects our aspiration for a bilingual organization, in line with the name change of our parent movement. In Canada, we work in partnership with allies, the Laudato Si’ Movement (LSM), and Catholics across Canada in order to respond to Pope Francis' urgent call for social, political, and ecological transformation and to animate the insights articulated in Laudato Si’ and other Catholic social teachings. We seek to ignite, inspire, and grow as a community of persons and institutions on a journey of integral ecological conversion, and that acts courageously to care for our common home.
Dr. Lorna Gold writes about the decisions leading to international movement’s name change and expanded mission. “We are broadening our mission to include ecological justice. This broader vision requires a system change which starts with a change of heart. Achieving ecological justice is a call to first recognise the injustice is manifold and includes injustice against those in poverty, those who have done least to cause the problems, those yet to be born, those protecting ancestral lands from ecological devastation, and non-human species. This means continuing the long traditions of many Catholic organisations, and joining with youth in prophetic advocacy. It means speaking truth to power and working tirelessly to ensure that we do everything we can to enable a transition to a liveable future that is just.
THE STORY – Laudato Si’ Week Highlights and Season of Creation Planning
Laudato Si’ Week, 2021, was an intense week of activities, announcements and learning opportunities. Of special note to highlight is the GCCM launch of the Healthy People Healthy Planet petition. Individuals are encouraged to sign and share the petition, and there is a separate signature category for Catholic organizations wishing to take a leadership role in amplifying the petition. Signatures will be delivered to global leaders at the COP 15 Biodiversity Conference in October and the COP 26 Climate Change Conference in November. https://thecatholicpetition.org/
“In this Easter season of renewal, let us pledge to love and esteem the beautiful gift of the earth, our common home, and to care for all members of our human family.” Pope Francis, Earth Day 2020
The growing signs of springtime wonder can help renew us as we deal with this third wave of the pandemic. Our own health and wellbeing is deeply interconnected with the health and wellbeing of others and our common planetary home. Yet inequalities are deepening as climate change, the pandemic and vaccine shortage continue to disproportionately affect the poor and vulnerable.
The pandemic has not put climate change on hold. Earlier this month NOAA reported that greenhouse gas emissions surged in 2020 despite pandemic shutdowns. Carbon dioxide reached a level last seen on earth around 3.6 million years ago when sea levels were about 78 feet higher and large forests grew in the Arctic.
Now is the time to re-animate a discussion about how our investments reflect our Catholic values, especially in response to the urgency of our climate crisis and prior to the United Nations COP 26 meeting in Glasgow. A social and economic message, sent through clear announcements about investment decisions from the Canadian Catholic community will, we hope, influence social and political policies here, as Canada prepares our commitments for the next UN climate meetings this fall.
“The present economic system is unsustainable and demands that we consider many of its key aspects...It is imperative to promote a new vision of the economy capable of taking into account ecological concerns.” p159 writes Vatican advisors in Journeying Towards Care of Our Common Home: Five Years after Laudato Si’, an extensive set of guidelines from the Interdicasterial Working Group of the Holy See on Integral Ecology.
“The comprehensive guidelines [include] the endorsement of the fossil fuel divestment campaign to cease investment in fossil fuel companies”, led in the international Catholic community, by the Global Catholic Climate Movement. GCCM press release, June 18, 2020
In direct response, the Global Catholic Climate Movement - Canada (GCCM Canada) offers the Catholic Eco-Investment Accelerator Bilingual Virtual Forum to encourage discussion and awareness among Catholic organizations about various methods of investing for change. Ultimately the goal is to encourage alternate investment of their stock holdings, away from fossil fuel companies and towards human and environment friendly enterprises.
This Virtual Forum is for anyone managing financial assets on behalf of Catholic individuals, businesses, organizations, institutions, communities, and dioceses. Trustees, financial advisors on board of directors, and pension fund managers are all very welcome. We expect there will be special interest in the 3rd forum session, Indigenous and Impact Investment as a means of responding to calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. While many religious orders have made significant efforts in this area, we invite them to consider joining us for an update on new investment opportunities.
Four bilingual webinars are planned from April 21st-May 12th, with a diverse range of speakers including Dr. Dianna Saxe, former Environmental Commissioner for Ontario, and Dr. Lorna Gold, Board Chair for the Global Catholic Climate Movement and co-founder of FaithInvest, UK.
Le moment est venu de relancer une discussion sur la manière dont nos investissements reflètent nos valeurs catholiques, en particulier en réponse à l'urgence de notre crise climatique et avant la réunion de la COP 26 des Nations Unies à Glasgow. Un message social et économique, envoyé par des annonces claires sur les décisions d'investissement de la communauté catholique canadienne, influencera, nous l'espérons, les politiques sociales et politiques d'ici, alors que le Canada prépare ses engagements pour les prochaines réunions de UNFCCC sur le climat cet automne.
"Le système économique actuel n'est pas durable et exige que nous considérons plusieurs de ses aspects essentiels... Il est impératif de promouvoir une nouvelle vision de l'économie capable de considérer les préoccupations écologiques" p159, déclaration des conseillers du Vatican dans le Journeying Towards Care of Our Common Home: Five Years after Laudato Si’, un ensemble complet des directives du Groupe de travail inter-dicastérien du Saint-Siège sur l'écologie intégrale.
"Les recommandations complètes comprennent l’aval de la campagne de désinvestissement des combustibles fossiles, le fossil fuel divestment campaign, visant à boycotter les entreprises de ce secteur", de la communauté catholique internationale, par le Mouvement catholique mondial pour le climat (GCCM). (Communiqué de presse du GCCM datée du 18 juin 2020)
La réponse instantanée : le Global Catholic Climate Movement - Canada (GCCM Canada) a sécurisé une subvention de la Catherine Donnelly Foundation pour lancer L’Accélérateur d’Eco-Investissement Catholique, un projet visant à :
Présenter et mettre en place des options d'investissement écologiques canadiennes à travers une plateforme virtuelle.
Faciliter la discussion des pairs entre des groupes qui sont bien engagés dans cette lutte et des concepteurs budgétaires et administrateurs catholiques novices dans cet engagement.
Développer une documentation bilingue "Comment faire" ut,ilisable par les participants pour le progrès de leurs plans d'investissement écologique.
Grâce à la Responsible Reconciliation Investment Initiative (RRII), un effort commun de la National Aboriginal Trust Officers Association (NATOA) et de SHARE, et de RAVEN Indigenous Capital Partners, une meilleure opportunité d'investissement avec les éco-preneurs des Premières Nations, des Métis et des Inuits.
L’Accélérateur d’Eco-Investissement Catholique , forum virtuel de l'accélérateur d'éco-investissement catholique, se déroulera du 21 avril au 12 mai, comprenant diverses intervenants, notamment la Doctoresse Dianna Saxe, ancienne commissaire à l'environnement de la province de l'Ontario, pour l’ouverture du forum, et la Doctoresse Lorna Gold, auteur de New Financial Horizons - The Emergence of an Economy of Communion, présidente du conseil d'administration du Global Catholic Climate Movement et membre du groupe de travail sur l'économie de la Commission Covid du Vatican, pour clôturer le forum virtuel.
Nous vous serons très reconnaissants si votre conseiller financier diocésain, ou vous-même, envisagerez d'assister à ces webinaires et ainsi partager le contenu avec votre congrégation, votre comité d'intendance et vos administrateurs par la suite. Aussi, nous vous demanderons de soutenir cette initiative à travers vos médias sociaux et de vos publications. Vous pouvez me contacter par courriel au [email protected] pour plus de détails sur le projet, ou pour tout collègue intéressé à y participer.
Ce projet est le l’œuvre d'une collaboration entre le Global Catholic Climate Movement - Canada, Faith & the Common Good et la Fondation Catherine Donnelly.
Faith & the Common Good (FCG) is a national, interfaith charitable network dedicated to supporting diverse faith and spiritual communities contribute to greener, healthier, more resilient neighbourhoods. The Global Catholic Climate Movement – Canada chapter (GCCM Canada), a program of FCG, hosts an interactive website, offers educational webinars, and connects members through quarterly newsletters for the advancement of values expressed by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’: on care for our common home. GCCM Canada is initiating the Catholic Eco-Investment Accelerator, a one year undertaking to encourage Catholic institutions, organizations and private investors to follow Pope Francis’ call for a shift to an Ecological Economy.
For us, it is important that both practical and spiritual aspects of ecology be integrated and run sustainably not only within our programming and ministry but, as well, throughout our buildings and land.
About twenty years ago, we had an audit done, and it was time for another. In November of 2020, we became aware of Faith & Common Good’s Green Audit Program. This program typically assesses seven key areas: Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Kitchen & Washrooms, Air Quality, Renovations & Construction, and Activities.
“Advent is a continuous call to hope…Let us try to bring out the good even from the difficult situation that the pandemic imposes upon us” Pope Francis, November 29, 2020.
People of faith seeking to “change the wind” towards justice and compassion
In an Advent reflection, Fr. Ron Rolheiser gives an example of hope from Jim Wallis, the founder of Sojourners, of how people of faith helped bring down apartheid in South Africa. They prayed and placed lit candles in their windows for all to see a sign of their hope that apartheid would end. Despite their government making the lit candles a crime, that prayerful act of hope “changed the wind in South Africa” and helped end apartheid. Wallis explains that politicians make decisions based on which way the wind is blowing so hope’s task is “to change the wind”.