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Catholic Church is ignoring climate change

As a Maryland Catholic I read with interest the article “What to look for from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops fall meeting in Baltimore” (Nov. 12). So I looked up the agenda that USCCB posted online. The scandal regarding clergy sexual abuse of children topped the agenda, as it should; and I look forward to the pastoral letter on racism, especially given that hate crimes are rising with racist rhetoric from top political leaders stirring the pot. Maryland Catholic Conference needs to a take a position on clean energy

Yet, unhappily, despite Pope Francis’ ecological encyclical Laudato Si’ issued more than three years ago, and despite the United Nations reporting that we have ten or 12 years to reduce fossil fuel emissions by at least 50 percent worldwide to avoid an ecological catastrophe beyond repair, the American bishops did not even bring up the issue. I cannot think of a more profound “respect for life” issue than climate change, so why are American Catholic bishops ignoring it?

Pope Francis has written that “to say ‘no’ to abuse is to say an emphatic ‘no’ to all forms of clericalism.” What about abuse of the planet and all God’s creation it sustains? Where is the “no” to that abuse? Is clericalism getting in the way of dialogue with lay Catholics demanding action on support for clean energy legislation?

After I wrote in The Sun last June (“Maryland Catholic Conference needs to a take a position on clean energy,” June 19) about the need for the bishops guiding the Maryland Catholic Conference to support the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act, with its clean energy goals closely aligned with UN objectives, it was as though a veil of clericalism fell over the front entrance of the Catholic Center in downtown Baltimore. All communication with Archbishop William Lori was shut down, and I am still trying to peer through that veil to understand why. Climate change must make its way on to the agenda.

J. Stephen Cleghorn, Baltimore

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