A Catholic priest who has previously been arrested for protesting against climate change has exclusively told The Catholic Universe that all members of the Church “need to do more” to protect God’s creation.
As campaign activist group Extinction Rebellion plans a series of demonstrations in the coming days, Fr Martin Newell CP, a Passionist priest based in Birmingham, said the Catholic Church should be at the forefront of the climate crisis, as he urged the Government to react to it with the same urgency it has shown in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The climate crisis “is important because it’s an emergency and it will affect our future,” Fr Newell told The Catholic Universe.
“It is already having an effect on poorer countries and is behind the changing weather in our own country.”
Citing Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, Fr Newell described the current situation as “catastrophic” and warned that it is no longer possible to dismiss it.
“We depend on the planet for our lives and our food,” he said, adding that the “poorest will suffer the most”.
Fr Newell pointed out that while “better words are being said” by world leaders, “not much is being done”.
“Government policy has improved a bit in recent years but we’re still on track for a global temperature increase of 4°C by the end of this century,” he warned.
Experts have warned that such a rise will have devastating consequences on the environment, including increasing food shortages as production is hit by extreme weather events.
Read more on this story in the latest edition of The Catholic Universe, dated Friday 28th August 2020, available now.
Picture: Thousands of Extinction Rebellion climate emergency protesters march through central London on 22nd February 2020. (Om1/Zuma Press/PA).