The future starts today, not tomorrow.
The direction for the Episcopal Commission for Creation Justice is set in response to the global climate emergency and all the inherent challenges so carefully extolled by Pope Francis in Laudato Si' mi Signore: Encyclical Letter on Care for Our Common Home (June 2015).
A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
He (St. Francis of Assisi) shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.
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.
A clear, focused vision is essential; that we may 'see' with the eyes of faith and hope, a vision of a people, transformed in mind and heart, rising up, standing, working and living in harmony together to build a new world order of "integral ecology" (LS Chap. 4) that puts the dignity, sacredness and oneness of all creation at the centre, and is life-nurturing, loving, equitable, and resilient─a "civilization of love" as it were─the ideal which the Church has long set before the world (LS 231).
Our mission is, of course, to respond to the 'mandates' set by the Pope in LS; primarily to protect humankind from self-destruction (LS 79), to remind people of their duty to care for nature (LS 83) through ecological education (LS 214), to bring about an ecological conversion (LS 217), and to lead all creation back to God (LS 83). In a manner of speaking, we are called to rebuild the 'temple of creation' which has been destroyed to a large extent by irresponsible and selfish human activity. To do this, we need to advance integral ecology, justice and resilience. We need to restore the relationship between God, mankind and nature. We need to restore the dignity of all creation. Creation (or Ecological) Justice is justice for all creation, recognizing that all creation is infused with the Spirit of our Creator, and all living creatures have the right to live with dignity. It acknowledges that we, humans, are creatures too, meant to live as One with all other creation, and carry a special responsibility to care for and love our created brothers and sisters, from the poor and marginalized in society to the moss in the forests and the fish in the oceans. It acknowledges the interconnection and interdependence of all beings (including natural entities) in the Earth community. Creation/Ecological Justice thus encompasses justice for Mother Earth, climate justice, intra-generational and inter-generational justice, gender justice, and social, economic, cultural, political and technological justice.
The objectives therefore are: (1) building a movement of ecological citizens, and (2) establishing living pathways of creation justice and resilience. These necessarily require confronting the powers that are life- destroying and unjust; addressing inequities; and prioritising the regeneration and protection of nature.
A prominent group of concern are children and youth. We need to support our young people to become a generation, and to build future generations, who can face the coming challenges with competence, confidence and hope.
The Spirit of Laudato Si' must permeate all of our work as Church. It is clearly the call of the times. The global climate emergency could be the very thing that finally brings all creation on Earth together as one universal family.
The vision-mission-objectives-strategies-measures (VMOSM) framework shown in Table 1 was adopted as the blueprint for the entire commission at a meeting of CJC representatives on 26 May 2017 in Sibu with minor subsequent fine-tuning approved by the President of the Commission. It should be noted that our vision, mission and objectives are long-term while the strategies are medium to long-term and the measures short to medium term. While the measures outlined in Table 1 are expected to be initiated and carried out during the period 2017-2020, they should continue to grow in future years as long as this commission stands.