Philippine bishops campaign for action at Paris climate summit

(Photo: Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines)Philippines Catholic Bishops on January 20, 2015. Cardinal Luis Tagle is seated in the center.

Philippine bishops say many voices must be heard in addressing the growing problem of climate change, citing the country's vulnerability to environmental catastrophes after Pope Francis' latest encyclical.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on July 21 called for working together to implement efforts that could mitigate the impact of climate change in the disaster-prone country.

"Climate change has brought about suffering for nations, communities and peoples," said CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas. "When they who are in need cry out, it is not an option to respond. It is an obligation."

"Advocacy of Church communities on behalf of the common good should influence policy makers and translate itself into community action as well," Villegas said.

He pointed out that citizens must work together with the government and other organizations to achieve the common goal of dealing with the concern.

The bishops issued the statement ahead of the upcoming summit in Paris aimed at tackling climate change.

They issued a reminder for developments to translate into tangible actions which can help improve the lives of the poor and the marginalized.

With climate change "social justice" issue, any decision reached must consider the common good of the generations to come.

"All persons of goodwill must train their eyes on Paris," Villegas said. "Caring about climate change and its deleterious and devastating effects on all ... is our way of attending to the needs of the least of our brothers and sisters; it is how, today, we must wash each others' feet," he said.

Caritas Internationalis president Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle encouraged people to take up the cudgels for the environment by working together to improve its worsening state.

"We must 'give, and not simply give up.' We are called to free ourselves from all that is heavy and negative and wasteful and to enter into dialogue with our global family," he wrote in a reflection on Francis' encyclical.

Tagle, also the Manila archbishop, pointed out that the Pope "reminds us to replace consumption with a sense of sacrifice, greed with generosity and wastefulness with a spirit of sharing."

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