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There is a joy when the thing you anticipate is, through faith, already present.

Catholics celebrated this joy today on this third Sunday of Advent—“Gaudete Sunday”—a day to relish a taste of the Christmas Season—and the Second Coming—now. It was a fitting day for environmental advocates to celebrate an international climate agreement forged in Lima last night.

But where the joy of Christmas is for believers a lasting promise of God’s reign in the human heart, those applauding the Lima agreement weren’t applauding very loudly.

There had rightly been high hopes in the days leading up to the United Nations event. But today many environmentalists are expressing disappointment that what governments agreed to is mostly voluntary rather than required compliance.

Still, some are confidant that the Lima pact will be enough to get us to more definitive discussions next December in Paris. “It’s the bare minimum of what we need, but we can work with it to get the pressure on,” said Alden Meyer, president of the group Union of Concerned Scientists, in the New York Times.

Others are less hopeful.

“The thing that we’re not seeing in here and that we’re not seeing at the...

Pope Francis weighed in today on climate change and the United Nations' gathering in Lima.

The Vatican website is currently providing the statement only in Italian and Spanish. As always, Zenit news has quickly provided an English translation.

In part, the Holy Father said that

"the effective struggle against global warming will only be possible with a responsible collective answer, that goes beyond particular interests and behavior and is developed free of political and economic pressures. It is only possible with a collective answer that is able to overcome attitudes of mistrust and to promote a culture of solidarity, of encounter and of dialogue able to show the responsibility to protect the planet and the human family."

Read the full statement here. And stay tuned for analysis when this very busy week winds down.

For now: Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.

Photo: Flicker/Catholic Church England and Wales...

An international coalition of Catholic bishops have released an important communiqué as part of ongoing climate discussions in Lima.

The entire document can be found here in its original form.

Stay tuned for more. But for now, you may wish to note the Catholic tone and wording of the document. What the bishops stress may not quite be what is reported in the mainstream media.

What do you appreciate about this statement? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo: From a high-level meeting on authentic human development and care for creation at the COP20. The Peruvian Episcopal Conference, CEAS and Caritas Peru, with the support of CIDSE and Caritas Internationalis, organized a dialogue between Catholic Church and countries' representatives in the margins of the COP20 climate negotiations. Credit: CIDSE

While areas of the Philippines were flooded and in darkness from Typhoon Hagupit—the second major storm to strike that nation in a year—an interfaith group holding solar lights stood in the night some five-thousand miles away on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.

Their message was simple: Now is the time for unity because now is the time for lasting climate change solutions.

The Jerusalem event was one of many that faith groups held in thirteen countries to call for progress towards an international agreement on climate change. Building on the momentum from the People’s Climate March in September, the solar-lighted gatherings took place to call attention to the United Nation’s climate talks taking place this week in Lima, Peru.

The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development organized the Jerusalem event as part of the project #LightForLima. Dozens of people gathered at the Old City's Jaffa Gate to walk together onto the ramparts of the Old City walls with solar lights. Interfaith discussions on climate change were then held at Jerusalem University College on Mt. Zion.

According to Rabbi Yonatan Neril, Executive Director of the interfaith center, “the event demonstrates that people of many faiths can...

While another round of international climate discussions takes place in Lima, Peru, the world’s Catholics will be opening the week with Monday’s Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

This alignment is noteworthy.

After all, the Church will be adding her voice to the gatherings in Lima. And as always, she brings something more than science, politics, and policies.

The United Nations’ climate change conference will house a number of international working groups, including the “Conference of Parties” or “COP,” which will be meeting for its twentieth gathering since it formed in 1992. It was then that nations began signing on to an international treaty—the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”— to see what can be done to keep the planet’s average global temperature in check—or to respond to what might happen otherwise. Those that signed on to this agreement are the "parties" that make up the COP.

By 1995, participating nations saw (to varying degrees) the need to reign in carbon emissions. This led to the Kyoto Protocol, which binds developed countries to targeted emission reductions.

The Lima event will include the tenth meeting on the Kyoto agreement, as well as the forty-first sessions of the...

In the northern reaches of California’s San Joaquin Valley, farm, suburb, and city each lay a claim to land and its water. Helping ease any tensions is the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton, which has become a leader in local Church engagement of how people use and share the resources of the world.

As the diocese’s Environmental Justice Program Director puts it, “we have a bishop who is very concerned about caring for God’s creation at the same time as we care for God’s people.”

That bishop is His Excellency Stephen E. Blaire, the fifth to oversee Stockton since the establishment of the diocese in 1962. Serving on the United States’ Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Com­mit­tee on Domes­tic Jus­tice, Peace and Human Devel­op­ment as well as in many such rolls throughout his career, Bishop Blaire is well known for tending to the least among us.

In fact, his diocese holds the unique distinction of dedicating a staff person to issues of environmental justice.

Katelyn Roedner Sutter is Bishop Blaire's full-time Environmental Justice Program Director within the diocese's Catholic Charities office. This makes her and Catholic Charities the face of the diocese at the state legislature, at...

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About the Blog

Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.