Francis Stewart from CAFOD’s Theology team reflects on our interconnectedness in light of the coronavirus pandemic, his experiences in Myanmar, and the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’.
Five years on from its publication – writes CAFOD’s Head of Theology, Linda Jones – Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical still challenges us to think again, to think differently, and to renew our commitment to bring about positive change.
It can sometimes be difficult to feel like we are connecting with the outside world – our common home – while we are literally locked down in our houses. Elouise Hobbs, CAFOD’s Regional News Officer, shares some tips on how to connect to our common home while in isolation.
Catherine from our Theology team reflects on the climate emergency facing the Earth, our common home, its impact on the lives of those who are poorest, and how Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ offers hope and inspiration for action.
Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ has inspired and challenged CAFOD in the way we work. Susy Brouard, from CAFOD’s theology team, and Gisele Henriques, from our international programmes team, reflect on how.
In June 2015 Pope Francis issued the encyclical Laudato Si’. The sub-title was “on care for our common home”. The letter was addressed not just to Catholics, and not just to people of faith. It was addressed to every citizen on the planet.
Pope Francis recognises that we have a common problem – environmental and social degradation. This problem will require a common solution so everyone is invited to be involved! As the Pope stated: “I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet.” (# 14)
As a Catholic development agency CAFOD took the Pope’s invitation to dialogue very seriously. We felt we were in a good position to contribute constructively to the conversation. At the same time, we also saw that Laudato Si’ contained within it many challenges about the way we live and work. This included our approach to international development. We realised that we might be required to change some of the ways we think and work.
Sister Clara is a nun from Zambia. She shares with us how climate change is becoming the main cause of poverty and how renewable energy and your support can make a difference.
Zambia has in recent years experienced extreme shifts in weather patterns. These shifts are resulting in profoundly negative impacts on the economy.
The poorest people living in rural areas, like Mbala in Northern Zambia, are most affected because almost everyone is dependent on farming as their main source of living. In addition, most people do not have access to electricity either because it is too expensive or because the country cannot afford a national grid. So the people of Mbala, and other such villages, are often left without this, the most basic of necessities.
Therefore, as a religious congregation working in Mbala, we have been helping the poorest people. We have been supporting them both materially and financially through the Households in Distress Project (H.I.D).