(June 18, 2015, MPR, Elizabeth Dunbar)
The call by Pope Francis for the world’s leaders and people to dedicate themselves to curbing climate change is being greeted with enthusiasm in Minnesota.
In the pope’s encyclical, or teaching document, he called for people to reduce waste, switch to cleaner forms of energy and redefine progress and development.
That struck a chord with Minnesota Catholics who celebrated the pope’s message Thursday in St. Paul. At St. Thomas More Catholic Community on Summit Avenue, they sang, prayed and offered some of their own ideas of how to respond.
The Rev. Joseph Weiss, the church’s pastor, said the pope is delivering an important message: “That climate change is a moral issue, that the church has an important role to play in the conversation and that this is the time to act.”
The challenge today, Catholics say, is converting his words into action.
Kettler said conversations with the youngest parishioners will be especially important, but he believes they will be a receptive audience.
“The problem I see with a lot of our young people is they would say we do need to take care of our environment but then they’re called into a culture that is very wasteful and throwaway type,” he said. “So how do you bring people from principles to action?”
Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, said one policy Minnesota should consider that fits with the pope’s message is boosting the state’s renewable energy standard. That’s something that Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature have resisted.
Adkins said people should put the planet ahead of politics.