ASIA/INDIA - The apostolic exhortation "Laudate Deum", platform for ecumenical commitment and interreligious dialogue

Wednesday, 18 October 2023 laudato sì   laudate deum   ecology   youth  

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - The Conference of Bishops of the Latin Rite in India (CCBI) draws attention to the contents of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "Laudate Deum". The document was presented to the dioceses by the General Secretary of the Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi, as "the Pope's call for a response to the climate crisis, a text in continuity with his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si'." As Father Stephen Alathara, Deputy Secretary General and spokesperson of the CCBI, explains to Fides, "the process of publication and dissemination was particularly rapid because we recognized the urgency of clarifying the contents of the letter also in view of the UN reference mentioned in the encyclical COP28 conference on climate change to be held in the United Arab Emirates in November". "In a large nation like India," explains the spokesman of the Bishops' Conference, "we see the need to continue working to increase the awareness and sensitivity of citizens to issues such as caring for the common home, climate change and global warming "Laudate Deum brings to bear the text of the encyclical Laudato Si by launching a call for co-responsibility in the face of the climate emergency, which it is our duty to take into account." For this reason, the Apostolic Exhortation was sent to all dioceses called to organize study seminars in communities, parishes, associations, movements at the local level. Father Alathara emphasizes in this regard: "Awareness-raising takes place primarily in schools, through the broad network of Catholic institutes. We have to talk to the new generations about these issues." Furthermore, he continues, "the issue of caring for the common home concerns us all, it is therefore also a platform for ecumenical engagement, with Christians of other denominations, and it also becomes an opportunity for cooperation with non-governmental organizations, with realities of different cultural backgrounds, with communities of other religions and is therefore also a path for interreligious dialogue," he states. Since the publication of the encyclical Laudato Si', the Indian Catholic Church has had special bodies such as the Bishops' Commission for Integral Ecology, which coordinates and organizes programs at the national and diocesan levels. It's about taking up Pope Francis' call for "ecological conversion and responsible use of the earth's resources" and raising awareness of making one's own contribution in dealing with communication", he points out. To this end, it is important to the field of mass media and social media, to give an account of environmental problems, to report news on the environment, to tell ideas, stories and experiences in line with "Laudato Si'" and "Ludate Deum". "The question we must ask ourselves is: What is our response to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor?” emphasizes Sister Mary Jyotisha Kannamkal from Bihar in northern India. The nun is involved in the interreligious forum for human rights and is committed to the dissemination of the encyclical “Laudato si’” within the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM). "In the encyclical I greatly appreciate the spiritual perspective of the connection between the social and ecological crises that require an urgent ecological conversion, a cultural change that promotes an integral ecology to respond to the cry of the earth and the poor", she notes. The nun promotes educational programs in the spirit of "Laudato Si'" and "Laudate Deum" and, together with her fellow sisters, is committed to working with young people in schools "through small steps such as saving water and electricity, not wasting food, dealing with biodegradable waste, recycle. We encourage young people to recognize God's presence in the poor and to preserve everything that God has created", she concludes. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 18/10/2023)