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Environmental Destruction a Concern of IMBISA Bishops, Call for Responsible Attitude

CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 01 December 2016

imbisa bishops declaration on laudato si 2016Catholic Bishops under the Inter-regional Meeting of Bishops in Southern Africa (IMBISA) have expressed their concern for environmental destruction within their territories and called for “responsible attitude towards the gift of creation” in the light the second encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ - "On Care For Our Common Home".

The concern and call were expressed in the declaration at the conclusion of their five-day plenary assembly, which concluded on Monday, November 26.

“Planet earth, which is God’s gift and common home to all creatures, is gradually being destroyed by us human beings,” the Bishops lamented, welcoming the Pope’s call to conversion interpreted as “changing attitudes and behaviours that harm the earth, diminish human dignity, impoverish quality of life and create inequality in society.”

The Bishops met under the theme: “Empowering the laity for effective engagement in socio political and environmental issues: ‘Laudato Si’ as a point of reference.” 

In their declaration, the Church leaders mandated the Secretariat and staff of IMBISA “to gather and disseminate information informed by ‘Laudato Si’.

In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis criticizes irresponsible development and consumerism and decries global warming and different forms of environmental degredation and challenges all the inhabitants of the planet earth to take “swift and unified global action."

Below is the full statement of IMBISA Bishops’ declaration at the end of their 11th Plenary Assembly.

DECLARATION OF THE 11th IMBISA PLENARY ASSEMBLY

22 - 26 November 2016: Maseru (Lesotho)

We, the Inter-regional Meeting of Bishops in Southern Africa, (IMBISA) in our 11th plenary meeting held in Maseru, Lesotho, considered thoroughly the theme “Empowering the laity for effective engagement in socio political and environmental issues: ‘Laudato Si’ as a point of reference.” 

Having reflected on the major points of Pope Francis’ Encyclical on environment ‘Laudato Si’, we identified issues in our region relating to it. We analyzed the capacity and limitations of our Church and explored ways and means of implementing ‘Laudato Si’. 

Planet earth, which is God’s gift and common home to all creatures, is gradually being destroyed by us human beings. We therefore welcome the invitation of the Pope to conversion, which means changing attitudes and behaviours that harm the earth, diminish human dignity, impoverish quality of life and create inequality in society. 

We gave attention to those manifestations of environmental destruction that are of immediate concern in our region and conference areas. These include pollution of the environment, harmful byproducts in the production of some sources of energy, water pollution and wastage. The consequences frequently result in diseases, corruption, consumerism, unemployment and inequality.

We identified practical ways and means of informing ourselves and our lay people to adopt a caring and responsible attitude towards the gift of creation which includes a celebration of creation around the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

We mandate the secretariat and the staff of IMBISA to gather and disseminate information informed by ‘Laudato Si’ with suggested specific concrete targets to enhance the awareness and implementation of our goals, keeping in mind that there are presently programmes addressing some of these issues at conference levels. We recommend that each conference continues to address these issues. 

We commit ourselves to the care of [our] common home and we appeal to all women and men of goodwill to take the issue of environment seriously.

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