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Bishops Welcome Initiatives in Congress to Follow Pontiff’s Call to Protect Environment

“As Pope Francis said, ‘We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all’”

Archbishop Thomas Wenski and Bishop Oscar Cantú welcomed new initiatives in Congress that respond to Pope Francis’ call during his visit to the United States to care for our common home “and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity.”

“The bishops welcome the various initiatives to protect the environment and address climate change that have recently emerged in Congress,” said Archbishop Wenski of Miami, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). “Such efforts help respond to Pope Francis’ call in his encyclical Laudato Si’ for ‘courageous actions and strategies aimed at implementing a ‘culture of care.’”  

These recent legislative initiatives include: a Congressional resolution introduced by Congressman Chris Gibson and several Republican House Members promoting environmental stewardship and efforts to address climate change; the American Energy Innovation Act of 2015 unveiled by Senator Maria Cantwell along with many Senate Democrats; as well as bipartisan efforts in the Senate and House including The Super Pollutants Act of 2015 introduced by Senators Chris Murphy and Susan Collins and the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act introduced by Congressmen Matt Cartwright and Robert Dold in the House and Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Hoeven in the Senate.

“These efforts by government leaders are positive actions that respond to Pope Francis’ call in his encyclical, Laudato Sí, to ‘redirect our steps’ and to act together to protect our common home,” said Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace. “We encourage these initiatives because they will stimulate greater dialogue in seeking sustainable solutions that can lead to real and lasting change.”

 “The U.S. bishops stand united with the Holy Father in his call to protect creation,” said Archbishop Wenski, who also affirmed Pope Francis’ appeal in his encyclical for a new and honest dialogue. “As Pope Francis said, ‘We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.’”

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