Catholics For Christian Climate Action have held prayer protests outside Westminster and Cardiff cathedrals asking for stronger leadership on climate crisis from Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales as they prepare for Spring Plenary Meeting.
Catholics For Christian Climate Action invited Bishops and others to join them in public witness outside Westminster Cathedral on Monday 12th and 19th April 2021 to raise concerns about the climate crisis in prayer and protest and to highlight the urgent need for strong leadership on the issue to the Bishops Conference and the wider Church in advance of the Bishop’s Spring Plenary Assembly. They were praying for the Catholic Church to take a more active lead in speaking out and demonstrating the urgency with which the UK needs to act on the climate and ecological emergency ahead of COP26.
There is growing evidence that the IPCC carbon neutral target of 2050 is too late to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees, above which there will be dire consequences and terrible and widespread suffering. Those taking part were seeking an immediate commitment by Church organisations to divest from fossil fuels and funders of fossil fuel projects, with a plan to do so by the end of 2022, as well as advocacy for a national commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2030. They were also asking the Church to advocate for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, which now has the support of 106 Members of Parliament, as a measure that would ensure that the UK contributes fairly to climate mitigation consistent with limiting global temperature increases to 1.5°C. Participants took the opportunity to pray in thanks for the positive actions that have already been taken by the Bishops Conference and some Diocese, religious orders and other Catholic organisations as a foundation upon which to build.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster responded to the invitation saying that he would be away from central London at that time:
“I assure you that every bishop in England and Wales is fully aware of the issues to which you are drawing attention and have been addressing them, in various ways, for some time.”
Columban sister Kate Midgley said “I am praying outside Westminster Cathedral because there are some things that need to be shouted from the housetops! We are in a climate and ecological emergency. As Christians, as Catholics, we believe that the whole earth is a miracle of God’s creation and that is being held in being in every moment by God. We of all people need to be at the forefront of calling for the protection of our earth. So, I am praying that our bishops will be inspired.”