Wroclaw (Fides Service) - Some sixty delegates from 22 countries took part in the Consultation on the Environment, entitled “Formation for responsibility towards Creation and Sustainable Development” and organised by the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Wroclaw, at the invitation of the Auxiliary Bishop Janiak. Main speakers were Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool, Gerhard Martens, professor of pedagogy at the Köln university and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, permanent observer of the Holy See to the UN institutions in Geneva, recently appointed Archbishop of Dublin.
The Meeting emphasised that the solution to global environmental problems can be found only through a change in our awareness and attitudes, through “an ecological conversion”. Here the Churches have an important role and competence, since this implies an integration of factual knowledge and the deeper meaning of things. The experiences of the Churches show that ecological awareness processes are successful only when they are combined with concrete actions. As a result of projects for the preservation of the environment, the Church can gain credibility and, at the same time, can give witness to its belief in Creation. The reports from the different countries showed the great variety of Church driven initiatives and awareness of environmental issues that exist in various European countries, for example various Catholic Universities are offering courses in Environmental Studies and also resources. A number of monasteries are providing models of an alternative life style.
In view of global responsibility, there can be no peace between peoples if there is not peace with Nature. Wars are always ecological disasters too. The fight for our diminishing resources, like water, can be the cause of new wars. Therefore, the protection of the environment should be essential and central to preventive politics of peace. The meeting saw that formation for global ecological responsibility is an essential condition for sustainable development. And here, the Church, the oldest global institution there is, has a vital contribution to make, as the Church is a global network of relationships that are active at local level. To carry this on into the future, there will be a further Consultation of the delegates of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe on environmental issues, 3 – 6 June, 2004, in Belgium. SL (Fides Service 6/5/2003 EM lines 32 Words: 408)