The U.S. bishops noted the upcoming feast of St. Francis of Assisi and the second anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Fratelli tutti,” which addressed fraternity and social friendship. According to the bishops, the pope’s call for “a better kind of politics” is an appeal to seek a better “eco-politics” that “protects, rather than exploits, the environment and green ideologies for partisan gain.”
Despite political divisions, lawmakers of many political beliefs share concerns about the global climate and the national welfare.
“They are doing the hard work of considering bi-partisan policies that can preserve the environment, promote energy security, and grow the economy,” said the bishops. “We pray that now, and in the future, both parties will continue to put forward their best environmental policies and work together to protect our ‘common home which God has entrusted to us.’”
The U.S. bishops also cited Pope Benedict XVI’s environmental exhortations.
“We must listen to the language of nature and we must answer accordingly,” Benedict XVI said in September 2011 remarks to the German parliament. He praised the environmental movement because it realized that “matter is not just raw material for us to shape at will, but that the earth has a dignity of its own and that we must follow its directives.”
The bishops reflected on a phrase from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, “faith comes from hearing.”
“Hearing emphasizes the personal, mysterious presence of God and the invitation to discipleship. Even in times of darkness when sight fails or the body cannot feel, God’s voice comes to us — directly, or through creation and other people — to remind us of his love, presence, and mercy,” they said. “While we can direct our gaze and reach with our bodies, listening is the most passive of the senses of faith, reminding us of the Lord’s initiative and activity.”
“Faith is our response to God’s action rather than the product of our Promethean making,” they said.
Pope Francis’ own message for the day of prayer asked for prayers that world leaders at the upcoming COP27 conference on climate change and the COP15 summit on biodiversity can unite the human family in addressing “the double crisis of climate change and the reduction of biodiversity.”
“Mindful of the exhortation of St. Paul to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep, let us weep with the anguished plea of creation,” the pope said. “Let us hear that plea and respond to it with deeds, so that we and future generations can continue to rejoice in creation’s sweet song of life and hope.”