Catholics across Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands sent an urgent message to U.S. Catholics to follow Pope Francis and take action on climate change in the short video entitled Dear U.S. Catholics: A Message from the Global South just released by the Global Catholic Climate Movement.
Pew Research Center data from 2014 shows religious affiliation in the US to be 70.6% Christian, with 20.8% Catholic. That’s 68,503,456 members.
The video features Catholic religious and lay people from climate vulnerable regions describing the impacts of climate disruption in their communities and calling on U.S. Catholics, specifically climate deniers, to address the climate crisis. The individuals in the video include Fr. Freddie D’Souza who is Secretary General of Caritas India, Franciscan Brother Patrick Souza (Brazil), Sister Teresa of the Dominican Sisters (Ecuador), Sister Kateia Kaikai of the Marist Missionaries (Pacific Island of Kiribati), Lou Arsenio of the Archdiocese of Manila (Philippines), Delvis Kaputya of Barpello Parish (Kenya), and Brother Paul, Seminarian of Society of Mary (Fiji).
In the video, viewers are encouraged to call on their governments to transition to clean energy, reflect on the Pope’s encyclical “Laudato Si”, and sign and promote the Catholic Climate Petition, which will be presented to world leaders at the UN Climate Summit in Paris in late November.
The video showcases Sister Kateia from the Pacific Island of Kiribati who decries, “Unfortunately political leaders have exacerbated the climate crisis by ignoring it…sadly some of those climate deniers are Catholic politicians such as Jeb Bush and Rick Santorum.”
Lou Arsenio of the Philippines follows with, “So we are appealing to the those who are still denying the existence of climate change to please change your way of looking at things. Don’t be too selfish. Look at what is happening globally. Look at the poor who are most vulnerable.”
The video’s release was timed with the Pope’s upcoming visit to the United States where climate change is expected to be part of the Pope’s message to Congress and the United Nations. The Global Catholic Climate Movement hopes that the video’s personal appeal from Catholics in the Global South will provide a human face to the issue while encouraging viewers into reflection and action.
The video can be viewed online at: http://