California Catholic Bishops Issue Call to Protect Our Common Home and Protect the Common Good – “the sum total of social conditions that allow us to access the resources and services necessary for a dignified life” 

“God destined the earth and all it contains for all people and nations so that all created things would be shared fairly by all humankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity.” — The Church in the Modern World, #69

The Catholic concept of the common good – “the sum total of social conditions that allow us to access the resources and services necessary for a dignified life”

JPII defined “integral ecology”: the stewardship of nature must first be at the service of advancing the good of all people in their environmental, economic and cultural dimensions.

On Fourth Anniversary of Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Caring for the Earth,

Bishops Celebrate Beauty of California While Warning of the Perils Facing Our Home

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SACRAMENTO, CA – Cherishing the many natural blessings of the Golden State while expressing growing concern with escalating threats to our world, the Catholic Bishops of California have issued a pastoral statement calling on all people to “contribute to the ecological well-being of our state.”

“We are publishing our Pastoral Statement on the fourth anniversary of Laudato Si’ with a two-fold vision in mind,” say the Bishops: “To animate and energize the implementation in California of what Laudato Si’ calls us to do, and to offer a dynamic teaching and evangelization tool for our Catholic faith community and beyond, especially for young people.”

In God Calls Us All to Care for Our Common Home, the Bishops challenge the people of California to appreciate the beauty of the state and to apply – both individually and collectively – the teachings of Laudato Si’  in safeguarding our natural gifts.

The statement emphasizes the Catholic concept of the common good – “the sum total of social conditions that allow us to access the resources and services necessary for a dignified life”  — in relationship to the environment and the people of California.

It follows by building on the concept of “integral ecology” first explored be Saint Pope John Paul II and expanded upon by Pope Francis.  The teaching emphasizes that stewardship of nature must first be at the service of advancing the good of all people in their environmental, economic and cultural dimensions.

God Calls Us All to Care for Our Common Home, most importantly, aims to encourage the practical applications of these teaching.

In the second section, the California Catholic Conference of Bishops challenge different groups to do their part:

  • Pastoral leaders and Catholic institutions are encouraged to share practical tools of teaching that proclaim the encyclical’s themes.
  • The Bishops ask youth and young adults to find opportunities to pray in natural surroundings and initiate conversations with older adults about environmental protection.
  • Parents, teachers, and catechists are encouraged to help create an environmental consciousness and literacy that promotes the principles of Laudato Si’ in every family’s lifestyle.
  • The statement suggests that public officials enact policies that improve air quality, reduce polluting gases, strengthen water systems, protect precious ecosystems, and support the health of our citizens.
  • Leaders in business are encouraged to consider to what extent their business enterprises, its products, and its marketing meet genuine human needs and promotes the common good.
  • The Bishops suggest that those who work the land and care for it reflect on how their work can best balance economic production and environmental protection with attention to greater sustainability.
  • The statement calls on artists and innovators to find new ways to highlight the beauty of creation and inspire a culture of ecological and human care in the light of the moral applications of the Pope’s encyclical.

Finally, echoing Laudato Si’, the Bishops conclude with a call to a spiritual conversion that respects our common home and cares for all, especially the poor and vulnerable.

“Ecological conversion challenges us to advance in culture, to grow spiritually, and to be better educated about the world entrusted by God to our care. The heavens and the earth belong to God, but we have been called to be good stewards.”

Resource Links:

Care for Our Common Home Summary | PDF

Care for Our Common Home Statement | PDF

Care for Our Common Home Summary (ESP) | PDF

Care for Our Common Home Statement (ESP) | PDF

Additional Resources 

June 18, 2019California Bishops StatementsCalifornia Catholic Bishops Issue Call to Protect Our Common Home

Pastoral Statement by the California Conference of Catholic Bishops on the fourth anniversary of Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home

In God Calls Us All to Care for Our Common Home,  the Bishops challenge the people of California to appreciate the beauty of the state and to apply – both individually and collectively – the teachings of Laudato Si’  in safeguarding our natural gifts.

March 19, 2019Because We Are CatholicCalifornia Catholic Bishops Issue Call to Protect Our Common HomePublications

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One-third of the parishes, offices and facilities of the Diocese of Monterey have gone solar, and the counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz now draw on 100 percent carbon and nuclear-free energy largely thanks to efforts of local Catholics.

Laudato si’ Sparks Clean Energy in California’s Monterey Diocese

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March 19, 2019

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One-third of the parishes, offices and facilities of the Diocese of Monterey have gone solar, and the counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz now draw on 100 percent carbon and nuclear-free energy largely thanks to efforts of local Catholics.

The diocesan office and the late Bishop Richard Garcia led the way in union with the faithful in the effort. Now the office runs on 100 percent solar energy, while 18 of the 46 parishes and two of the 12 schools have made the move. More are in process.

Adding in the number of facilities that are preparing for the transition, about half of the diocese’s facilities will soon draw power from a renewable source.

The diocesan Office of Social Concerns, collaborating with local solar companies and consultants, devised a way that parishes could go solar with little overhead risk.

The diocese offers low-interest loans to parishes for the necessary equipment and installation. Parishes begin to save as soon as the equipment becomes operational since the savings on utility bills exceed loan payments.

Father Murrin of Boulder Creek’s St. Michael’s Parish, touched by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’, noted he was personally motivated by the realization that there is no single group that could make a more positive impact on the environment globally than the Catholic Church — if only for the number of buildings owned by the Church world- wide. St. Michael’s Parish responded quickly becoming a model parish for the Green Diocese, Green Parish project.

The diocese is now investigating a way that this surplus clean energy produced can be put to the service of the disadvantaged, assisting those who cannot pay their power bill. As a nonprofit, the diocese cannot receive payment for the surplus energy, so it is now examining the possibility of creating a special charity account for this purpose.

Beyond this Green Diocese, Green Parish solar initiative, Catholics in the Monterey Diocese were searching for more ways they could make a difference. Responding to this desire, the diocese began close collaboration with the Romero Institute — a nonprofit interfaith organization dealing with public policy — and its subsidiary Green Power to explore what could be done.

Simultaneously, three of the counties within the diocese were looking at launching Community Choice Energy (CCE) programs, allowing local communities the freedom to choose the sources of energy they purchase.

The collaboration between the diocese, the late Bishop Richard Garcia, the Romero Institute and Green Power proved a powerful force. With the clear and expressed sup- port of their bishop, Catholics in the diocese were mobilized to act as crucial agents in community advocacy in the establishment of the local clean energy power company, Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP).

Now, through MBCP, all residents and businesses through- out Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties who do not actively opt-out receive 100 percent carbon-free and nuclear-free energy.

The impact continues to spread as the Diocese of Monterey is being honored for best practices in a large display at the Vatican’s international ecology conference. The Romero Institute also is working to replicate this model of com- munity action to advance the cause of clean energy within other dioceses in California and in other institutions.

August 15, 2018California Catholic Bishops Issue Call to Protect Our Common HomeHuman Dignity

(NAIROBI, Kenya, July 2, 2018) For our international discernment and strategy council, the Franciscan friars gathered here to reflect upon how we could best live and share our spirituality today. The eco-spirituality encyclical written by Pope Francis, Laudato Si, emerged as a recurring theme at this council. This is the most Franciscan papal encyclical ever written. It presents our founder St. Francis as a model for contemporary Catholic spirituality, and uses a Franciscan approach to analyzing our twin crises of global economic injustice and environmental degradation. With Laudato Si, Pope Francis has challenged everyone, but most especially Franciscan-hearted people, to undergo ecological conversion and to respond with creativity to the needs of all creation.

Diocese of Stockton Joins Catholic Groups to Support Clean Power

April 6, 2016California Catholic Bishops Issue Call to Protect Our Common HomeHuman Dignity

The Diocese of Stockton, in the heart of California’s Central Valley and facing immense environmental challenges, has joined the Catholic Climate Covenant as well as other Catholic and faith groups in filing an amicus brief in support of the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever federal standards on carbon pollution from power plants.

September 11, 2015California Catholic Bishops Issue Call to Protect Our Common HomeHuman Dignity

“The California Catholic Conference is pleased with the passage of SB 350 and is asking Gov. Brown to sign this important measure of environmental stewardship.

September 3, 2015California Catholic Bishops Issue Call to Protect Our Common HomeHuman Dignity

With the State Senate debating two momentous environmental bills and the Pope declaring September 1 as a Day of Prayer for creation, legislators, California Bishops and representatives from national Catholic organizations engaged in an hours-long dialogue this week to examine the principles outlined in the Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si’ (On the Care for Our Common Home.)

July 9, 2015California Catholic Bishops Issue Call to Protect Our Common HomeHuman Dignity

“The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home.”

Pope Francis. Laudato Si, On Care for Our Common Home 2015

June 18, 2015California Catholic Bishops Issue Call to Protect Our Common HomeHuman Dignity

In Laudato Si, a letter addressed to all the people of the world, Pope Francis presents a clear and compelling case for placing people at the center of a renewed commitment to caring for the planet.

“We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.  Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.”  [139]

June 15, 2015California Catholic Bishops Issue Call to Protect Our Common HomeHuman Dignity

Saint Francis’s Canticle of All Creatures

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor and all blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.

Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.

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