The World Council of Churches welcomed Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si'”, released on June 18, which highlights what churches and ecumenical organizations have been doing for decades on caring for the earth and climate justice issues.
“This is the time to focus on our shared responsibility as human beings, and the way we as churches should support those who are ready to make the required changes”, said Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches.
“This encyclical proves to all that these are matters at the heart of our Christian faith, and that we as Christians should address them as churches together all people who care for our common future as issues of justice and peace”, he added.
Tveit also stressed the positive recognition to “other churches and Christian communities (that) have had a deep concern and a precious reflection” (paragraph 7), especially the references to Patriarch Bartholomew.
The WCC executive leader echoed the Pope’s affirmation on the need for dialogue between politics and economy (189-198) and religion and science (199-201) which constitute a sine qua non condition for responding effectively to the ecological crisis.
Reference to the ecological debt (51-52) and the strong affirmation that “access to safe drinking water is an essential, fundamental and universal human right” (30) were also highlighted by Tveit.
Dr Guillermo Kerber, WCC programme executive for Care for Creation and Climate Justice, supports the clear affirmation that climate change is caused by humans and has harder impact on the poorest and most vulnerable communities. “The Encyclical is an important call to urgently act as individuals, citizens and also at the international level to effectively respond to the climate crisis”, said Kerber.