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Ecology council to focus on Laudato Si’

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‘Care of our Common Home’ will be at the forefront of the work undertaken by the Archdiocese’s newly-created Catholic Council for Integral Ecology.

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Apostolic Administrator Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ last month approved the terms of reference for the council and expressions of interest are now being sought from parishioners who wish to join as members.

Initial discussions for the establishment of the council began last year when the Archdiocese hosted a Season of Creation seminar. An Earthcare Australia representative who attended proposed that an ecology council could further the work of Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical letter Laudato Si’.

Acting secretary Peter Laffan said the council would have a threefold purpose – to respond to Pope Francis’ call to care for the earth and care for its most disadvantaged people; to provide a public voice on justice, peace and integrity issues; and to stimulate more activity and awareness about ecology at the parish level.

“It would be fair to say there has been a sporadic and limited response by the parishes to Laudato Si’
over the past five years, so the council will be supporting them to take greater action,” Mr Laffan said.

He added that the council would connect closely with Centacare, Catholic Education SA and the Catholic Office for Youth and Young Adults to share their vision for ecological change.

Acting chancellor Sarah Moffatt, who has been closely involved in the establishment of the council, said its formation was even more relevant given Pope Francis’ recent apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia (Beloved Amazonia), which draws attention to the abuse of this unique environment.

She agreed with Mr Laffan that some parishes had “dropped the ball” in relation to Laudato Si’ over the years.

“In some ways the untimely death of Fr Denis Edwards, who was so well known for his work in this area, has provided the impetus we needed to refocus our attention on the importance of ecological action within the parishes,” she said.

“There are some wonderful things happening in schools – and we want to bring as much of that as possible across to the parishes.”

Meanwhile, a peaceful gathering was held in Canberra last month to draw attention to the need for ‘meaningful action’ on climate change.

Buddhists, Anglicans, Catholics, Quakers and people of other faiths joined thousands of concerned Australians during the first sitting week of Parliament to express their concerns about climate change which were highlighted by the recent bushfire crisis.

The Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) co-hosted the gathering, known as the People’s Climate Assembly. Christian ARRCC supporters made a Meditation Tent available and a number of faith leaders participated in the peaceful, silent encirclement of Parliament House.

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