Catholics and Lutherans spoke in unison upholding environmental protection. An ecumenical message for the care of creation was launched in Katowice. In the Polish city that is hosting the Climate Conference COP24, Anders Wejryd, European President of the World Council of Churches (WCC), former primate of the Lutheran Church of Sweden, declared: “the Creation has always been accessible to mankind” and today it represents “the only branch we can hang on to, but we are constantly trying to break it”, he said on Sunday, December 9, in the Cathedral of Katowice. Catholic Archbishop Wiktor Skworc, who took the floor after him, called upon “all Christians and all men and women of good will” to pray for “the preservation of creation.”
Common prayers and words that guard against the “selfishness” and the “short-sightedness” characterising “the history and the present of humanity”, Wejryd pointed out. In his homily he made an admonishment to the world of finance.
“The wonderful means of money has turned into a terrible governance of capital, and thus the servant has become the master while the means has become the goal.” As regards environmental protection, for the Lutheran bishop climate change is a cause of migration flows, reiterating the positions expressed on several occasions by Pope Francis. “This is only the beginning!”, he exclaimed. “Unfortunately, more dramatic days lie ahead.” He addressed the issue “with alarm” and “realism.” The WCC representative thus recalled the common vocation:
“We are called to bring the world back to its senses, to give the world something more important to strive for than more private capital, more selfish individualism.” The words of the Lutheran prelate delivered in the cathedral of the capital of the Upper Silesian mining region, echoed those of Msgr. Skworc: “The motivation and the grounds of our prayer are rooted in our faith in the Creator and in our respect for creation.” The common prayer held on the occasion of the COP24 Climate Conference was promoted by the WCC, the worldwide inter-church organization representing mostly Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox Churches.
Laudato si’: a reference text. The Archbishop of Katowice indicated Laudato si as the reference text on environmental issues and the words of Pope Francis as “those of a prophet in the desert of today’s world.” The prelate asked participants in the climate conference “to pray for all those who have at heart the evangelization of the world and for those who care for the preservation of our common home.” Meetings of a more confessional and less institutional nature are equally taking place in Katowice. The members of Catholic organizations participating in the climate conference have met with the Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the United Nations Msgr. Bernadito Auza. The Vatican diplomat remarked that the adverb “more” seems to be the mostly frequently mentioned word during the Conference, which demands a “stronger commitment for climate protection, more actions and more ambition.”
“I also wish to highlight this term to say that we need to be more committed in our spiritual life, so it may bear fruits in the shape of an ‘ecological conversion.’” Moreover, representatives of various Catholic movements and organizations worldwide – including Italy – took part in the demonstration for climate protection, seriously threatened by the use of fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources, held in the Polish city. At the end of the march along the streets of the city centre, protestors met to discuss theological and ecological themes with Father Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, coordinator of the sector of “Ecology & Creation” of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.