Dublin’s archbishop urges Catholics to tackle ‘climate catastrophe’ in 64-page pastoral letter

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff

Archbishop Dermot Farrell prays in St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland, on Feb. 2, 2021. / John McElroy.

Dublin, Ireland, Sep 1, 2021 / 08:30 am (CNA).

The archbishop of Dublin has urged Catholics to help tackle the “climate catastrophe” in a 64-page pastoral letter.

In his first pastoral letter since he was installed in Dublin in February, Archbishop Dermot Farrell encouraged his flock to undergo an “ecological conversion.”

“The purpose of this pastoral letter is to initiate a diocesan conversation about how all can contribute to the care of our common home and recognize the many dimensions attached to this challenge,” he wrote.

“We are at a critical moment as a global community and so I wish to encourage all people of faith to embark on this journey to live our call to protect and care for the garden of the world.”

The 66-year-old archbishop released the letter, subtitled “The climate catastrophe — Creation’s urgent call for change,” on the eve of the Season of Creation, an “annual celebration of prayer and action for our common home” from Sept. 1 to Oct. 4. He invited parishes in Dublin archdiocese to observe the event.

“This pastoral letter, which I have titled, ‘The Cry of the Earth, the Cry of the Poor,’ approaches the climate catastrophe from the perspective of faith,” Farrell explained in an Aug. 30 statement.

“That is not to say, it excludes the insights and contribution of the natural sciences. On the contrary, healthy faith takes on board what God says through creation. Faith and science are not opponents; in a truly Christian view, faith and reason — fides et ratio — go hand in hand. God reveals himself through the world. That is the heart of our Catholic faith.”

He continued: “Scientists have issued a ‘code red’ not just for the environment, but for humanity itself. God now calls us, individually and collectively, to work for the good of the planet and the good of all. Let us not fool ourselves: there can be no enduring response to the cry of the earth without responding to the need for justice and dignity.”

The pastoral letter includes an appendix with poetry by the English Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, who spent his final years in Dublin, and T.S. Eliot.

Pope Francis named Farrell as archbishop of Dublin on Dec. 29, 2020, succeeding Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who had led the archdiocese since 2004.

Farrell has a doctoral degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. After his studies in Rome, he taught moral theology at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, where he served as president from 1996 to 2007.

He was named the bishop of Ossory, in eastern Ireland, in 2018.

Farrell now presides over an archdiocese with more than 1.1 million Catholics in an area of Ireland with Catholic roots dating back to the 5th century.

In his pastoral letter, the archbishop urged parishes in the Dublin archdiocese to sign the “Healthy Planet-Healthy People” petition, endorsed by the Holy See.

The petition, directed at the U.N. Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, in November, calls for an agreement limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit).

Farrell also invited Catholics to become involved with the Laudato Sì Prize, an archdiocesan initiative inspired by Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical.

“This prize of €5,000 [around $5,900] will be awarded for the new initiative that makes the greatest practical difference to our response to the climate crisis and to our embrace of the way of justice,” the archbishop explained.

The pastoral letter will be distributed by the Dublin-based publisher Veritas online and via its bookshops in Ireland. It is also available on the Dublin archdiocese’s website.

In his Aug. 30 statement, Farrell acknowledged that his pastoral letter was a “long document.” But he argued that the climate crisis was so grave that it demanded “extensive” reflection.

“All too often ‘religion’ appears as if it is no more than an intellectual failure of nerve. However, true religion is not a flight from the world: faith that is alive provides a framework for people to make decisions and take action,” he said.

“As a Church, and as a society, we need to reflect with greater depth, urgency, and seriousness about what we must do. This extensive pastoral is in the service of that deeper reflection.”

“If not for your own sake, then for the sake of your children, and for the world’s children, consider dedicating some time to the issues raised in its pages.”


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11 Comments

  1. The photo is priceless: The very up-to-date bishop tackling the “climate disaster,” while the real disaster is the empty church engulfing him.

  2. Pray for this poor man to repent. He is responsible for his flock and not for evil globalists – their aim is to depopulate Earth – it is contrary to Catholic teaching. Why this bishop does not mention anything about Christ?

  3. Yes, and while we’re at it, why don’t we also tackle the issues of the earth being flat, the moon landings being faked, and a famous New York suspension bridge just listed on the real estate market. I also heard that unicorns are almost extinct and leprechauns are constantly being height-shamed. Let’s get on all this right away!

  4. It’s human nature to do each other over in one way or another. Taking into account the spiritual path in following Jesus is the the making of choices to act against our human nature in not doing each other over.
    And that includes the sort of ongoing choices of greed and selfishness that have the consequence of severely degrading and damaging the planet and it’s systems, all the result of a culmination of various acts of selfishness and greed.
    The consequences of small and big choices to do each other over by following selfishness and greed will end in death. The consequences in choosing to act against our human nature in not doing each other over will result in life.

    In following a broad trajectory that can end in one of two ways Jesus enunciated a way that he said was The Way.
    What others have done over millennia in claiming to follow ‘The Way’ is a great insight into the ways human nature plays out in the lives of ordinary people.
    Human nature is a powerful force of nature. And also The Way of Jesus is a powerful antidote to the negative potential of human nature as are other expressions of spirituality of a similar trajectory. Without this positive input of Jesus and His Way of looking at things it is undoubtable with this antidote absent the world would be very different.
    In the Name of God the Father, Jesus the Redeemer, author and giver of Life, and The Holy Spirit who comforts and leads, save us from ourselves, our greed and our selfishness, both individually and corporately.

    • Yes, and save us from the tendency to falsely and maliciously accuse others of wrongdoing when they are innocent, like you did to Cardinal Pell for most of last year. Don’t worry about the planet, it will be fine. Address the sinfulness residing in your own heart.

  5. Chris Griffin, you misrepresent and lie about me. The subject addresses “The Climate Catastrophe. I do not support abortion in Ireland or anywhere. Since you raised the subject of the Irish and the murder of innocent life, in your attempt at distraction and slander, let us for a moment contemplate the actions of the USA with respect to the death of innocent civilians. The USA kills civilians and many US Catholics advocated and supported these wars that resulted in the death of between 244,124 and 266,427 civilians of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan between 2001 and 2018. This in response to the death of 2977 from the 9/11 attacks. Now also include the as yet untold suffering and death of men women and children in Yemen. Do Catholics of the USA care or is this not on your agenda? That is over two hundred thousand civilians! The USA is morally bankrupt in this respect. My question is this. Is it the hight of hypocrisy to be pointing your finger at the Irish and calling out murder when your own nation is directly responsible for the death of over two hundred thousand innocent men women and children in the past twenty years? To say I’m angry at the choices your Government made on behalf of you, the people of the USA is an understatement.

  6. I’m not going to subscribe to Climate Change Hysteria simply because a mentally handicapped Swedish teenager screams at me to do so.

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