The Jewish Sabbath is on Saturday. The Christian Sabbath is on Sunday. Except for Seventh Day Adventists. Buddhists do not have a particular Sabbath Day. We fast at different times, in different ways, for different reasons. We have different beliefs about who leads, and how.
We could spend a lot of time of focusing on the differences in our faiths, but we are all Seekers. We all turn to the wisdom and scripture of our faith traditions for hope, for solace, and for instruction. We are all called to care for creation, to care for the most vulnerable people, and to work for justice. Pope Francis released his encyclical, Laudato Si, in June. In the anticipation of that event, in the build to his visit last week to the United States, and (in the climate change world) in the build to the international talks in Paris this December, many, many religious bodies and religious leaders have released statements from their traditions. (Jump to links)
These teachings are not new to Catholicism, nor are they new to other faith traditions. Recent statements from religious bodies are statements amplifying Laudato Si : In Care of our Common Home with deep teachings and specific language from their own traditions. It is time to offer all the wisdom we have, from all sectors, as we seek to find new and just ways to live in our Common Home. Religious leaders recognize that.
Below you will find a few links. There is no way we can list every published response to Laudato Si, but if you are aware of other high-level statements that are not yet linked here, please share them. If you are aware of published remarks by individual leaders of traditions not yet linked here, please share those, too! Study guides? send us those, too! Do you have a personal reflection? Consider writing a blog post to share. [See, for example, past PA IPL board member John Roe’s series of reflections, reposted from his blog.]
This wonderful PDF is a graphic by the (PA IPL members) Sisters of Mercy showing how their 5 Critical Concerns connect with climate change. A learning series on Laudato Si, presented to the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of the Visitation in Fall 2015 is available as presentation and notes.
A visual slide presentation of a few key quotes (in English, Spanish, and Italian) with music could make a great “screensaver” to have playing as people enter, or during fellowship time. This 6 min version with soaring music is from the Vatican.
Msgr Stuart Swetland of the Archdiocese of Kansas City has created an accessible overview using a series of background and “what’s in there? questions. Scroll to the end for “top 10 takeaways” “5 helpful facts” and “suggested family activities”
Of course the Catholic Climate Covenant has been leading the Catholic response to climate change in the United States for years, and they list a series of resources, including Homily helps connecting lectionary cycle B to the encyclical, from Catholic Relief Services.
OTHER RESPONSES, STATEMENTS, and SUPPORTS:
There is a series of 7 articles at BahaiTeachings.org exploring Laudato Si and relating it to core Baha’i teachings. This letter is addressed from the Baha’i International Community to the December 2015 UN Conference on climate change in Paris (COP 21). (The letter does not directly reference Laudato Si, but was absolutely part of the conversation in that space)
The Islamic Declaration on Climate Change can be read online, and you can watch a video introduction with many leaders, from many places in the world on YouTube. The release announcement gives a little bit more context, and Islamic Relief Policy and Research draws lines of connection between Islamic teachings, climate change, and their work.
The spiritual leaders of the Anglican Church and the Orthodox Christian Church, Justin Welby and Bartholomew (who is quoted in the encyclical itself), wrote an op-ed together, published in the New York Times. (The June 2015 Lancet report on climate change and health to which the OpEd refers is also online.)
The United Church of Christ General Minister and President the Rev. John Dorhauer says that “Laudato Si may well be the most important document of our time”. On June 30, 2015 the UCC church body voted to pass the Transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy resolution —a resolution that originated in part with a team in Central Pennsylvania (including PA IPL board member Bill Lochstet, and former board president, Rev. Bill Thwing).
In-depth remarks from Elder Marcus B. Nash of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, are summarized in the Deseret News in this post-encyclical article, with links to Elder Nash’s original remarks. You will also find a beautiful embedded video: Our Earth, Our Home. LDS: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865631022/LDS-environmental-stewardship-statement-recent-talk-share-similarities-with-Pope-Francis.html?pg=all
The Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis, signed by over 400 Rabbis from several traditions was released in June. The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) has released a guide with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs: Jewish-Catholic Dialogue and the Environment, and also hosts a series of resources on climate change. PA IPL’s board president, Rabbi Daniel Swartz, created a discussion guide of facing-page texts from the Encyclical in “conversation” with Jewish texts from scripture through the present. Both the 1-page, 1-session version and the 4-page version include questions for discussion. It was used for Yom Kippur studies on several continents this year, and is suited to many occasions. Rabbi David Seidenburg of NeoHasid.org has shared a Hebrew translation of the ecumenical prayer by Pope Francis found at the end of the encyclical. Read and download the translation with notes.
Buddhist (Mahayana): The Dalai Lama included climate change and the encyclical in his remarks on June 28. EcoBuddhism published a response to Laudato Si in the Wisdom segment of their website. The International Dharma Teachers’ Statement on Climate Change is titled The Earth as Witness UPDATE: The Buddhist Climate Change Statement to World Leaders came out on October 29, and is signed by the Dalai Lama, Thich Naht Hahn and 13 other world Buddhist leaders.
The Bhumi Project is an international Hindu response to environmental challenges.
The magazine The Hindu published about Laudato Si in July. Sunita Viswanath wrote about Hinduism and the encyclical in the Huffington Post in July, and at Sadhana, Christopher Fici wrote about 5 core messages of the encyclical, Hindu beliefs, and notes that a coalition of Hindus has welcomed these messages. The Hindu Declaration on Climate Change from 2009 provides a more in-depth look at Hinduism and climate change.
Above are just a few links, focusing on high-level statements and study guides/resources. If you are aware of other high-level statements that are not yet linked here, please share them. If you are aware of published remarks by individual leaders of traditions not yet linked here, please share those, too! Study guides? send us those, too!