I have set before you life and death. choose life that you and your descendants may live.
Fundamentally the task is not to articulate not just an alternative set of policy proposals but an alternative worldview to rival the one at the heart of the ecological crisis—embedded in interdependence rather than hyperindividualism…
Naomi Klein This Changes Everything
On the climate issue, the world’s biggest corporate polluters and pushers of unsustainable rates of consumption are hell bent on maintaining ‘business as usual’ and are working alone and in groups [and at the UN] to ensure that climate policies will not interfere with the profitability of their operations.
The marvelous pastor and founder of Sojourners Magazine in Washington Jim Wallis struck a deep chord when he said about meetings in parishes: If they are not connected to a movement outside they are wasting their time. It’s like navel gazing. This would describe most of the parishes in Toronto’s GTA and I imagine most cities. There seems to be little awareness that the gospel mandate is to transform cultures and worlds. and this can only be done by movements, and joining with others. Think the abolitionist Movement and Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement. Pictures of those latter years saw nuns, priests and rabbis marching with Dr. King. Nowadays if Catholics aren’t leading the parade they are not in it. Control is the name of the game.
Many years ago a great friend of mine took over a parish and immediately handed the basement over to the Peace movement. He was a sophisticated prelate who understood the above insight. It’s about being the leaven in the loaf, the powerful gospel values of shalom, peace and sustainable creation. Most parishes have no clue. More are depending on foreign clergy who have no sense of Canadian Social Teaching. They tend in varying ways to a sacramental model of church offering religious services but never engaging in a socially prophetic solidarity praxis with other groups. Certainly some good things go on but they offer no challenge to the broader culture and in terms of climate justice, they are ignoring the greatest sacrament of all, planet earth and the damage being done to it.
Can they be this obtuse to the ravaging of the climate? Are they not aware that that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased last year at the fastest rate in 30 years, in Naomi Klein’s words “gases that will trap heat for generations to come, creating a world that is hotter, colder,wetter. thirstier, hungrier, angrier.”. Do they watch the news? Are the signs of the times that hidden? Do they really believe that band aids like recycling, changing light bulbs and re-using are the answer? Talk about a parallel universe!
This weekend in New York City the biggest climate justice march in history is taking place in New York City. over 1000 groups are backing the march. It would be interesting to see how many parishes are joining in. Why was I not surprised when I found out the Jesuit parish St Francis Xavier was big on promoting the march. In the bulletin I read the following
Join Us for the People’s Climate March – Sep. 21st
Let’s participate as a parish to let the world know that we are concerned about climate change as a moral and social justice issue, that we care about creation, and we care about protecting the most vulnerable from extreme weather events and other catastrophes caused by climate change.
This is a model for what all parishes should be doing. Hats off to the Jesuits and also to Pax Christi USA.
Certainly in Toronto there is absolutely no episcopal leadership in dealing with the greatest moral issue extant today. If my friend were alive today he would have a Serra Club or Friends of the Earth club in his basement. He would be connecting with others bringing the gospel mandate of care for creation into the larger stream.
The brilliant secular Jew Naomi Klein in her latest prophetic tome This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus the Climate uses language which is deeply religious and which mirrors the fire that the mad followers of the Galilean carpenter exhibited and which inspires engaged Catholics today: the power of ferocious love. It is this power which is beginning to mobilize against the rape of the earth and the depredations of the turbocapitalism we see today. It is this economic model so beloved by our Prime Minister Stephen Harper which is waging war against the common good and against all kinds of life on earth.
May the four days of protest in New York keep the fire going