Cardinal Sean O’Malley has signed the Catholic Climate Petition calling on world leaders to take action on climate change. The petition launched by the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) in April 2015 was endorsed by Pope Francis in May giving it a unique status of being the only environmental petition to be endorsed by the Holy Father.
Since then Cardinal Tagle, Cardinal Hummes and over 20 other individual bishops around the world have added their endorsement, along with several bishops conferences. Cardinal O’Malley is the second U.S. bishop to sign the petition, after Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick.
Fr. Thomas Conway, Executive Director of St. Anthony’s Shrine, was instrumental in securing the Cardinal’s support for the petition. The Shrine recently formed a partnership with the Global Catholic Climate Movement and held a petition drive after masses last weekend in which over 500 signatures were collected. Fr. Thomas stated, “Our Franciscan charism calls us to care for creation and for the poor. So we are grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with the Global Catholic Climate Movement on this important issue.”
Christina Leano, Global Campaigns Coordinator with the Global Catholic Climate Movement stated, “Cardinal O’Malley’s support of the petition is an invitation for all the faithful in Boston and across the United States to follow suit. Given that the United States is one of the greatest contributors to climate change it is imperative that we find ways of protecting our common home in solidarity with the poor and our brothers and sisters who feel the impacts most heavily.”
Cardinal O’Malley developed a strong commitment to social justice early in his priesthood when he served as the Episcopal Vicar for the Hispanic, Portuguese and Haitian communities and as executive director of the Archdiocesan Office of Social Ministry both in the Washington Archdiocese. He has served the Church all over the world including Central America, the Caribbean, and Florida, and has made special efforts to reach out to Catholic youth, being the first Cardinal to write a personal blog and expanding the Archdiocese’s use of social media. He is a member of Pope Francis’ council of cardinals and leads the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
The full text of the petition states: “Climate change affects everyone, but especially the poor and most vulnerable people among us. Inspired by Pope Francis and the Laudato Si’ encyclical, we call on you to drastically cut carbon emissions to keep the global temperature rise below the dangerous 1.5°C threshold, and to aid the world’s poorest in coping with climate change impacts.”