Sr Karen d’Artois OP is a Dominican nun from the Archdiocese of Westminster. She’s part of a delegation of CAFOD campaigners travelling to the UN ‘COP21’ meeting in Paris, calling on world leaders to agree to action on climate change to prevent people in the poorest communities being pushed deeper into poverty.
I learned very young, when I was aged 10, that politics isn’t a ‘spectator sport’.
Studying Politics at university, I realised the same about my Catholic faith. That belief inspired my vocation as a Dominican Sister: to bring together faith and politics in the quest for truth.
To me, the idea that ‘faith has no place in politics’ is rubbish! Faith, in some form, is the basis of every person’s thinking and acting. Jesus criticised the unjust political and social circumstances of his day and appealed for change: he called it the Kingdom of God. As a follower of Jesus, I’m called to help build that Kingdom — where justice and opportunity are within everyone’s reach.
Learn about Pope Francis’s Encyclical
The Climate Summit in Paris is a chance to speak up for planet Earth and the goodness of creation. It’s at risk from our reckless behaviour and misuse of resources. Faith and politics aren’t opposites; they depend on one another. My Catholic faith is the foundation of my politics and activism, and politics informs my faith.
I’m travelling to Paris because I want to remind world leaders why they entered -politics in the first place. I believe politicians are fundamentally motivated by good intentions and seeking the common good. So, surely it was with a view to making their community and country — and ultimately the world — a better place. How can it be better if we continue to act in such a way that we destroy the planet that gives us life? Now is the time to act. Our leaders must adopt attainable and legally binding agreements to stop climate change and enable all nations and peoples on Earth to recover to flourish. We’re running out of time.
For what do you, world leaders, want to be remembered?
Please, choose to be remembered for courage and selflessness — two words few want to hear. Take tough decisions that will be life-giving, bringing progress and development for everyone.
Call on the UK government to stop investing in fossil fuels
With CAFOD, I’ve become more politically active, uniting my love of God, my Catholic faith, and my passion for politics. It’s renewed my longing to make some real difference by my life, however small. That’s what enthused me about politics originally, and continues to inspire my vocation as a Dominican Sister. Mother Teresa said: “We feel what we do is just a drop in the ocean… but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” I have an opportunity to put in my one drop.
Although I try to be mindful of using limited resources doing small things such as recycling, it’s time for action on a global scale. Planet Earth faces such a crisis that I have to speak up. Pope Francis reminds us in Laudato Si’ that we need a ‘global consensus’ to tackle the world’s problems. World leaders need to know that the citizens of the world are behind them. I’ll be in Paris encouraging them and chivvying them along.
Join Sr Karen in calling for action on climate change