Copenhagen Climate negotiations must show courage
14 December 2009
Caritas has brought the voice of the poor to the UN summit on climate change in Copenhagen.
Manuel Moran Hidalgo of Caritas El Salvador at the service.
Caritas Internationalis and the World Council of Churches held a speakers event at the UN meeting on Monday.
Caritas Internationalis Vice President Fr Erny Gillen was one of the three speakers. He said, "We have the freedom to choose. This small choice is key for the whole Earth and society. Our choices will be reflected in history.
"We need ethical guidelines such as those in Catholic Social Teaching. What is key is not changing our ethics, but how to put life in them. That is the power the Church has - to motivate people. There is a good sign here with the global campaign Caritas has been taking part in."
Bishops, priests, staff and supporters of Caritas took part in a series of events in Copenhagen over the weekend to press world leaders for a just deal.
Events included a Catholic Mass presided over by Caritas Africa President Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga of Kampala on Friday in Copenhagen.
Archbishop Lwanga said in his homily that man-made climate change is threatening the world: “We are responsible for reversing it and mitigating its effects especially among the poor.”
Caritas joined 100,000 people as they marched from Copenhagen's city centre to the UN summit, where negotiators are hammering out a deal.
Caritas also took part in the handover of 500,000 signatures by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to UN climate chief Yvo de Boer on Sunday.
Caritas had helped collect about a third of the petitions through its Grow Climate Justice Campaign with Catholic sister network CIDSE.
Later in the day, Caritas Mexico President Bishop Gustavo Rodriguez represented the Catholic Church at a special Ecumenical service with the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
Caritas supporters in Copenhagen and worldwide rang bells 350 times, which is equivalent to the level of carbon dioxide that is safe in the environment. In Europe, over 2,400 Catholic churches took part. The campaign was worldwide.
Contact: Patrick Nicholson, firstname.lastname@example.org, +393343590700