Glasgow will be the host city as the UK Government will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow on 1 – 12 November 2021.
The climate talks in Glasgow will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.
As COP26 Presidency, the UK is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire action ahead of COP26.
There is a clear emergency for our environment and the conference this year aims to address this by bringing together leaders of our world to discuss and address this issue. The time has never been better when our world is recovering from a Pandemic.
Our Passionists Glasgow page starting during Lent 2021 with aims to aid us in prayer with the works of Passionist Priest Fr Thomas Berry, The Passionists and Laudato Si (Care for our Common Home)from Pope Francis. The written works will hopefully raise our own awareness of our own role in the climate emergency and focus us on praying for our leaders not only in preparation of the conference but also that action is taken by world leaders and in our own daily lives.
Through previous teachings Pope Paul VI referred to the ecological crisis as “a tragic consequence of unchecked human activity”, running the risk of impacting future generations. Saint John Paul II also highlighted the problems and produced what is considered the first direct documents the church issued on the ecological issues the world was facing however one could suggest had the world responded to early teachings on socio-economic concerns in previous documents the resulting emerging crisis of our earth may not have continued at the rate it has. Pope Benedict XVI suggested we no longer considered our environment as sacred when we stopped believing in a higher instance than ourselves and can only see nothing else but ourselves.
The work of Fr Thomas and Laudato Si do not necessarily offer immediate suggestion of tackling issues but makes aware of the need for action. We pray for action and ways that we can with our faith on how we can improve and influence situations. The last three chapters of Laudato Si Pope Francis discusses ways we can respond to the crisis.
"our common future depends on intentional participation, “This we need to know: how to participate creatively in the wildness of the world about us."
Our prayer like that of Fr Thomas requires a new consciousness of the relationships with nature and requires great work in economics, education, industry, law, philosophy, politics, and religion as we developed a new worldview with a comprehensive ethics of reverence for all life; all human activities, institutions, professions, and programs would then be judged to the extent that they inhibit, ignore, or foster a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship. This is our prayer for COP26. If our world goes unchecked the consequences for future generations remains very poor.
The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life
In the second paragraph of Laudato Si Pope Francis also shares similar thoughts to our world and damage caused.
2. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.
Fr Thomas was inspired by the work of Rachel Carson, Rachel wrote her book Silent Spring about pollution and the dangers overuse of pesticides posed to the environment. Rachel was a biologist and an ardent ecologist raising many issues that she felt were inflicting widespread destruction to our planet. Fr Thomas was aware of this and spent the rest of his life encouraging and persuading others to the risk of our biosphere.
Fr Thomas Berry continued his work by encouraging and giving talks throughout his life providing a basis in spirituality for an ecological spirituality. Pope Francis through the encyclical Laudato Si encourages the same to foster a spirituality of our earth, our world. Fr Thomas's knowledge of world religions underpinned his environmental call for a spirituality of the divine.
Before his death in 2009 Fr Thomas Berry prayed and called for a new spirituality that would renew the world's traditional religious systems and make them more relevant and responsive to the looming crisis to our worlds ecological systems. It would require a spirituality of the divine, an "ecological sensitive spirituality" that would view all life as sacred and develop a single earth community.
In Laudato Si there has been a recognition by Pope Francis for urgent dialogue on how we shape our planet. As Christians we have always had that responsibility however Pope Francis emphasised how the impending crisis affects us all.
Both Fr Thomas Berry and Laudato Si advise an awareness of reckless consumption and new technological processes demanding too much from our earth, our way of life. Both calling on ways to repair the creation story. Fr Berry stating the rupture and destruction of the creation story after two millenia and Pope Francis who attributes Saint Francis with trying to repair that rupture acknowledging the conflict from our original creation story. (LS66)
None of our existing cultures can deal with this situation out of its own resources. We must invent, or reinvent, a sustainable human culture by a descent into our pre-rational, our instinctive resources.
The commentary within the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the eight days of creation is noteworthy for its emphasis on the interdependence, care and love of all creatures.(279-302) and (337-349)
We are called to respect and protect the integrity of creation, this is highlighted in 2402 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Further reading in 2415 - 2418
we are called to participate in the “great liturgy of the universe, by attending the transitional moments, the dawn and the mysterious twilight, the seasonal changes, the awe-filled hours of birth and death.
"There is no communion without participation"
Fr Thomas Berry C.P.
As a city parish Saint Mungo's is a close community, we gather in communion with one another and with our environment, our local neighbourhood, our city and in Communion with Jesus and his teachings. As a parish it is our prayer that we follow Jesus in all his ways . Jesus is at the heart of everything we do in our parish, the transcendent Chris who lived as human, who is divine and lives at the heart of the Trinity. He is the Cosmic Christ permeating the heart of the entire Cosmos. Like Jesus, we follow in his ways being in communion with our neighbourhoods, our city, our world restoring broken relationships with each other, with God and the entire cosmos. Jesus Christ stands at the centre of all of this (col 1:15-20)
Fr Thomas Berry hoped the world religions would open up to restore and articulate anew their vital, nourishing messages. He wished to bring continuity of their historical tradition in to conversation with the changing nature of the modern world. This is something Laudato Si has aimed to address and also something Pope Francis will aim to do when he visits COP26 in November, this would be the first time a Pope has attended such a gathering.