Why should Catholic Charities care?
By Robert Gorman, Executive Director of Catholic Social Services in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, USA
The CCUSA volunteers programme in Louisiana, where Hurricane Katrina struck
Climate changes are already occurring here on the low-lying coast of South louisiana. my home is 0 miles inland, but is only inches above sea level. The Gulf of mexico creeps closer each year because of erosion and subsidence of the wetlands and barrier islands, rising sea levels, and more intense hurricanes. The poorest members of our communities live right on the Gulf and their homes have already flooded many times over. People call Catholic Charities (CCuSA is a member of Caritas internationalis) every day for assistance, and Catholic Charities agencies throughout South louisiana have spent tens of millions of dollars just since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita helping people in their disaster recovery.
Catholic Charities has a moral obligation to protect the life and dignity of each person and the established communities in which they have built their lives.We have a powerful network through which we can provide social services to people most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.We have a prophetic voice for justice that needs to raise climate change concerns to our statehouses, Congress, and theWhite House. ultimately, our role is difficult because we are stewards of a world that is not our own.We are part of the biblical covenant obligating us to care for all of God’s living creatures. if we believe that God is present in us and to us in all that we see and experience, then we must embrace the role of the good steward—a role that Catholic Charities in its commitment to the common good takes seriously as it finds its voice in the climate change debate.
RESOURCESAnnual reportHow Caritas works: Climate Change Guide on Environmental JusticeClimate change on Caritas BlogClimate justice newsletter vol. 6