Catholic Climate Covenant Resources

Catholic Climate Covenant

In 2006, to address growing ecological awareness and the need to implement Catholic social teaching on ecology within the US Church, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) helped form Catholic Climate Covenant. Inspired by the USCCB’s 2001 statement on climate change, and supported by 14 national partners (which include the USCCB, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, the Catholic Health Association, congregations of religious men and women, and other national organizations), Catholic Climate Covenant helps US Catholics respond to the Church’s call to care for creation and care for the poor.

We are grounded in the Church’s deep history of teaching on creation, ecology, and the poor. Caring for creation and caring for the poor have been a part of the Catholic story since the beginning, but in recent years St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and especially Pope Francis have added a sense of urgency to their call for Catholics to act on climate change. The US Bishops themselves having been calling for action since 1981.

Catholics do care about climate change and they’re working hard to create solutions. Catholic Climate Covenant is at the center of these efforts. With the approval and support of the United States bishops, we help guide the US Church’s response to the moral call for action on climate change by sharing authentic Catholic teaching on creation and the poor and by informing and inspiring community leaders to take action (education); by sharing stories of those most affected by climate impacts in the public square (public witness); and by providing concrete tools, techniques, and technical assistance to help Catholic peoples and institutions reduce their carbon footprint and to work for justice (resources).

Catholic Climate Covenant can help you answer the call to care for creation and the poor through the sharing of Church teaching, our resources, and our programs. Loving God’s creation and God’s most vulnerable is at the heart of who we are as Catholics.





Laudato Si Resources


Prayer and Worship Resources

Care for Creation Reflections

Environmental Justice Reflections


Encyclical Resources: Laudato Si

Text of Encyclical on Vatican Website

Catholic Relief Services


Catholic Climate Covenant

USCCB Environmental Stewardship Resources


Discussion Guide

Bulletin Inserts


Dates to Accentuate Care for Creation

September 1st: Care for Creation      October 4th: Feast of St Francis





Catholics and Climate Change: Statistical Research and Action from Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) , OFM, Capuchins

This summer, Pope Francis, who leads 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, will issue a papal encyclical on climate change. An encyclical is a letter that sets church doctrine on critical issues and is one of the most important forms of communication within the church. Early indications are that he will define climate change as a fundamentally moral and religious challenge for the world. Pope Francis will then separately address the General Assembly of the United Nations and a joint session of the U.S. Congress in September in the lead-up to this year’s critical UN climate negotiations in Paris.

What do American Catholics and other Christians currently believe about global warming, how worried are they, and do they support policy action?

To answer these questions, we conducted a special analysis on our recent nationally representative survey conducted in the fall of 2014. Overall, we find that Catholics – 24% of all American adults – are more convinced that global warming is happening, are more worried, and are more supportive of policy action than other Christians.

We find that a solid majority of Catholics think global warming is happening (70%). By contrast, 57% of non-Catholic Christians think global warming is happening.  Moreover, among those who think global warming is happening, Catholics are more likely than other Christians to think it is mostly human caused (48% versus 35%, respectively).

Catholics in the U.S. are significantly more worried about global warming than other Christians. A majority of Catholics (64%) say they are very or somewhat worried about global warming – 18 percentage points higher than all other Christians (46%).

In another key measure, we find that nearly half of Catholics (46%) understand that most scientists think global warming is happening, compared to only 37% of other Christians. Ourresearch has found that understanding the scientific consensus is a “gateway belief” that influences other key beliefs about climate change.

Catholics express higher support for policies to reduce global warming than other Christians. Catholics expressed the highest levels of support for funding more research into renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power (81%) and providing tax rebates for people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels (81%). Other Christians expressed lower levels of support for these two policies (73% for each).

The largest difference in policy support between Catholics and other Christians was requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20% of their electricity from wind, solar, or other renewable energy sources, even if it costs the average household an extra $100 a year. Nearly seven in ten Catholics (69%) support such a policy, compared to five in ten non-Catholic Christians (53%) – a 16 percentage point difference.

For more details and figures related to our analysis of American Catholics’ attitudes on global warming, please go to the Climate Note on our website.

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JPIC journal, 2015

Ayodi-BenedictSt. Francis of Assisi perceived God’s creation as a whole, with each of its parts interrelated, interdependent and filled with the divine. Mutual respect, justice and peace were its natural hallmarks. The Canticle of Creation, written by Francis not long before his death, provides the foundation for his followers. For Francis, the constant awareness of the love of God for all life gives rise to living out the reality in one’s own sphere. This spirituality guides Franciscans today where people are inspired to take action to restore justice, peace and integrity of creation in our world. In recent years we have noted how the different dimensions of our charism are transverse. That is, they are intimately related, interdependent, and demand the presence of one another. If we are talking about our responsibility to evangelize, we must include our life with God, our fraternal life, formation, and JPIC in the reflection. If we are looking for ways to strengthen our commitment to JPIC, we must include spirituality, pastoral activity, initial and ongoing formation, and fraternal concern in our plan as well. Since being appointed to serve as the General Secretary (i.e., Director) of the JPIC Office of JPIC in July 2013, I have worked closely with JPIC Commission to set and implement our goals and objectives for the 2012-2018 sexennium. In 2014 we set our strategic plan based on “3 I’s:” Inform, Integrate and Inspire. With these goals, we have carried out three major tasks: (1) the JPIC-Damietta Peace Initiative Peace Gathering in Pretoria, (South Africa); (2) a survey on social projects of the Order; and networking with FI, Roman VI, Pontifical Council and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). I wish to thank the JPIC Commission
members, our General Minister Br. Mauro Jöhri and his Council for their support to our work. In the following pages you will read about our vision, mission and the activities of the General Office of JPIC during the year 2013-2014.
Br. Benedict Ayodi see full story here JPIC OFMcap Journal, 2014

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Global Catholic Climate movement: Lenten Fast for Climate Justice

(also available in EspañolItaliano, Português, Français, Mandarin

In Lent 2015 (starting on February 18th) we’ll organize a global fast for climate justice. Catholics from more than 40 countries will fast during each of the 40 days, joining the Fast For The Climate interfaith effort and the Green Anglicans Carbon Fast. We fast and pray for bold action to solve the climate change crisis (see the facts andCatholic Teachings on climate change).

Lent is the time when we remember the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert, and we are invited to reflect, repent, fast, and listen to God. Following Pope Francis’ invitation above, this Lent let’s commit to overcome our indifference to the climate change crisis and its victims. Let’s pray and fast for the renewal of our relationship with creation and with our brothers and sisters in poverty who are already suffering the impacts of climate change. And, besides standing in solidarity with the victims, we urge our political leaders to commit to ambitious climate action to solve this urgent crisis and keep the global temperature increase below 1.5 degree Celsius (relative to pre-industrial levels).

50 confirmed countries so far! See the map (by NCR) and the list of dates and details by country.

Resources to prepare your fast:

Important reminder: if you’re going to take part in the Fast (by “fasting” we mean refraining from food during a whole day, or at least one meal) please make sure you drink lots of fluids, and if you feed dizzy, weak or light-headed – eat something straight away. You shouldn’t take part in the Fast if you’re pregnant, under-12, diabetic or suffer from an eating disorder. If you have any doubts, check with your doctor first.


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A Call for fast during lent for Climate

“Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” – Pope Francis

A Call for a Fast

In these remarks from his inaugural mass, Pope Francis made it clear from the start that all men and women of goodwill have a responsibility to one another as “protectors of creation.” Therefore, with one mind the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) is organizing a Lenten hunger fast as a response to our present climate crisis. Beginning Lent (February 18 – April 2) 2015, GCCM would like to encourage Catholics around the world to pray and fast in solidarity with those who are most affected by the changing global climate. The traditional fast on Ash Wednesday (February 18) will commence the global effort and we ask that Catholics in every country include in their daily prayers our troubled Earth and especially those who are affected most by its violent climate shifts; the poor and those who live along coastal communities. Each subsequent day of Lent, we intend to have assigned to a different country. All that is required is a leader in the country who will agree to work on mobilizing other people to fast. All Catholics who are fasting and praying for our world’s fate will be encouraged to sign up on a public digital registry. Can you be a leader of Catholics in your country? GCCM will provide links to prayer resources, Lenten fasting calendars, and petitions that can also be used as ways to show support of a global climate agreement. We will also keep track of which country is fasting during each day of Lent. You can sign up to join the fast here: As the Holy Father has demonstrated his care for all of God’s creation, we hope to follow his courageous example and pray this fast will be the start of a global shift in the way we respond to climate crisis


Year of Faith and Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church Part Seven



Archdiocese of Los Angeles Office of Life, Justice and Peace

Creation Sustainability Ministry

Year of Faith and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church


 “I…hope that we will make this the year when we begin the habit of life-long learning in our faith. A good place to start is to study the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), especially as they are expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.” (9)

“…I recommend that in this Year of Faith, we begin a practical study of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church in our parishes and our homes.” (12)

Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles

Witness to the New World of Faith: A Pastoral Letter to the Family of God in Los Angeles on the New Evangelization and Our Missionary Call (October 2012)


Chapter Ten of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Safeguarding the Environment

New Lifestyles, 486-487


Environmental challenges require an assessment of individual and societal lifestyles.  Consumption, focused on solidarity for the common good, realizes the interdependence of all humanity and the biosphere.

“Serious ecological problems call for an effective change of mentality leading to the adaptation of new lifestyles, in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of the common good are the factors that determine consumer choices, savings and investments.  These lifestyles should be inspired by sobriety, temperance and self-discipline at both the individual and social level.  There is a need to break with the logic of mere consumption and promote forms of agricultural and industrial production that respect the order of creation and satisfy the basic human needs of all.  These attitudes sustained by renewal and awareness of the interdependence of all inhabitants of the earth, will contribute to eliminating the numerous causes of ecological disasters as well as guaranteeing the ability to respond quickly when such disasters strike people and territories.  The ecological question must not be faced solely because of the frightening prospects that environmental destruction represents; rather it must above all become a strong motivation for an authentic solidarity of worldwide dimensions.” (486)


In thanksgiving, we appreciate God’s creation.  The world exclaims God’s continual providential care in sustaining life.

“The attitude that must characterize the way man acts in relation to creation is essentially one of gratitude and appreciation; the world, in fact, reveals the mystery of God who created and sustains it.  If the relationship with God is placed aside, nature is stripped of its profound meaning and impoverished.  If on the other hand, nature is rediscovered in its creaturely dimension, channels of communication with it can be established, its rich and symbolic meaning can be understood, allowing us to enter into its realm of mystery.  This realm opens the path of man to God, Creator of heaven and earth.  The world presents itself before man’s eyes as evidence of God, the place where his creative, providential and redemptive power unfolds.” (487)



To read the full text of paragraphs 486 thru 487 visit:


Questions for Personal Reflection or Group Discussion



List three serious ecological problems, one locally, one nationally and one globally. How can you change your lifestyle by making alternative consumer decisions to help mitigate these problems?


Prayerfully reflect on your interdependence with all creation.



What is the most profound way you have experienced God’s creativity in creation?


How do you experience the providential nature of God in creation?


Write a poem about entering into the realm of the mystery of God from observing creation.


By Barb Born August 3, 2013


Year of Faith and Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church Part Six

Archdiocese of Los Angeles Office of Life, Justice and Peace

Creation Sustainability Ministry

Year of Faith and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church


 “I…hope that we will make this the year when we begin the habit of life-long learning in our faith. A good place to start is to study the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), especially as they are expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.” (9)

“…I recommend that in this Year of Faith, we begin a practical study of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church in our parishes and our homes.” (12)

Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles

Witness to the New World of Faith: A Pastoral Letter to the Family of God in Los Angeles on the New Evangelization and Our Missionary Call (October 2012)


Chapter Ten of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Safeguarding the Environment

The Environment and Sharing of Goods, 481-485


Our faith acknowledges God’s gift of creation was created for all humanity.  Dominance and exploitation by individuals, corporate entities or nation states constitutes greed.

“As regards the ecological question, the social doctrine of the Church reminds us that the goods of the earth were created by God to be used wisely by all.  They must be shared equitably, in accordance with justice and charity.  This is essentially a question of preventing the injustice of hoarding resources: greediness, be it individual or collective, is contrary to the order of creation…” (481)


Environmental degradation contributes to and intensifies poverty.  International trade regulations and impact of foreign debt linger as additional burdens on impoverished nations. This can lead to added exploitation of the environment when outside sources extract natural resources for the benefit of export and local communities lack a voice in preserving their local environment that once sustained their lives.

“The environmental crisis and poverty are connected by a complex and dramatic set of causes that can be resolved by the principle   of the universal destination of goods, which offers a fundamental moral and cultural orientation.  The present environmental crisis affects those who are poorest in a particular way, whether live in those lands subject to erosion and desertification, are involved in armed conflicts or subject to forced immigration, or because they do not have the economic and technological means to protect themselves from other calamities…It is moreover necessary to keep in mind the situation of those countries that are penalized by unfair international trade regulations and countries within a scarcity of capital goods, often aggravated by the burden of the foreign debt.  In such cases hunger and poverty make it virtually impossible to avoid an intense and excessive exploitation of the environment.” (482) 


Disparity between need and resources must not discount the dignity of the human person.

“The close link that exists between the development of the poorest countries, demographic changes and a sustainable use of the environment must not become a pretext for political choices that are at variance with the dignity of the human person…” (483)



Water is essential to our survival.  Inadequate supplies of safe drinking water contribute to disease, intensifies poverty and leads to societal conflicts.  Respecting the dignity of all, the universal availability of water connotes a moral concern.

“The principle of the universal destination of goods also applies naturally to water, considered in the Sacred Scriptures as a symbol of purification and of life.  “As a gift from God, water is a vital element essential to survival; thus, everyone has a right to it.” Satisfying the needs of all, especially of those who live in poverty, must guide the use of water and the services connected with it.  Inadequate access to safe drinking water affects the well-being of a huge number of people and is often the cause of disease, suffering, conflicts, poverty and even death. For a suitable solution to this problem, it “must be set in context in order to establish moral criteria based precisely on the value of life and the respect for the rights and dignity of all human beings.” (484)


Using water rationally and in solidarity, calls for its distribution as a common good.  Being not an economic good, the right to water is a universal and inalienable right.

“By its very nature water cannot be treated as just another commodity among many, and it must be used rationally and in solidarity with others.  The distribution of water is traditionally among the responsibilities that fall to public agencies, since water is considered a public good.  If water distribution is entrusted to the private sector it should still be considered a public good.  The right to water,as all human rights, finds it base in human dignity and not in any kind of merely quantitative assessment that considers water as a merely economic good.  Without water, life is threatened.  Therefore, the right to safe drinking water is a universal and inalienable right.” (485)


To read the full text of paragraphs 481 thru 485 visit:


Questions for Personal Reflection or Group Discussion



How do you see goods shared inequitably?


What resources does our nation use greedily?


On your social media, list how you will personally use creation’s resources more wisely.



Visit Catholic Relief Services website about the link between poverty and climate change:


Give examples of how environmental crisis could lead to conflict.  Where has this already happened?


Read about the jubilee year in Leviticus 25:8-55.  How could this concept be integrated into contemporary society to address the global disparity of resources and minimize environmental exploitation?



In what global regions is there a disparity between available resources and the population’s needs?


How might the global community help alleviate the disparity?



Read a report of your local water supply.  What are potential contaminants?


List three new ways you could save water and share the ideas with ten friends.


In Scripture, water was a symbol of life.  How have we degraded this symbolic analogy by misuse and degradation of water supplies?



Each day, almost one billion people are denied their universal and inalienable right to clean drinking water.  Read about the work of Catholic Relief Services to provide clean drinking water:


What other resources should morally be considered a public good?


By Barb Born August 3, 2013








Year of Faith and Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church Part Five

Archdiocese of Los Angeles Office of Life, Justice and Peace

Creation Sustainability Ministry

Year of Faith and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church


 “I…hope that we will make this the year when we begin the habit of life-long learning in our faith. A good place to start is to study the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), especially as they are expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.” (9)

“…I recommend that in this Year of Faith, we begin a practical study of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church in our parishes and our homes.” (12)

Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles

Witness to the New World of Faith: A Pastoral Letter to the Family of God in Los Angeles on the New Evangelization and Our Missionary Call (October 2012)


Chapter Ten of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Safeguarding the Environment

The Use of Biotechnology, 472-480


New forms of biotechnology are defining changes in agriculture, medicine and the environment.  They can offer hope or harm that must be evaluated by objective study  and debate by the breadth of society.

“…The application of various types of biotechnology, their acceptance from a moral point of view, their consequences for human health and their impact on the environment and the economy are the subject of thorough study and heated debate.  These are controversial questions that involve scientists and researchers, politicians and legislators, economists and environmentalists, as well as producers and consumers…”(472)


Human intervention in the gift of Creation must evaluate the benefits and risks to act responsibly.

“…nature is not a sacred or divine reality that that man must leave alone.  Rather, it is a gift offered by the Creator to the human community, entrusted to the intelligence and moral responsibility of men and women…Human interventions that damage living beings or the natural environment deserve condemnation, while those that improve them are praiseworthy…In the realm of technological-scientific interventions that have forceful and widespread impact on living organisms, with the possibility of significant long-term repercussions, it is unacceptable to act lightly or irresponsibly.” (473)


Biotechnology has ethical concerns in the social, economic and political realms, but it must be realized that global challenges will not only be solved by relying on technology.

“Modern biotechnologies…need to be evaluated according to the ethical criteria that must always guide human activities and relations in social, economic and political spheres.  Above all the criteria of justice and solidarity must be taken into account…In any event, one must avoid falling into the error of believing that only the spreading of the benefits connected with the new techniques of biotechnology can solve the urgent problems of poverty and underdevelopment that still afflict so many countries on the planet.” (474)




A culture of international solidarity must permeate an equitable exchange of scientific and technological knowledge.

“In a spirit of international solidarity, various measures can be taken in relation to the use of new biotechnologies.  In the first place, equitable commercial exchange, without the burden of unjust stipulations, is to be facilitated.  Promoting the development of the most disadvantaged peoples, however, will not be authentic or effective if it is reduced to the simple exchange of products.  It is indispensable to foster the development of a necessary scientific and technological autonomy on the part of these same peoples, promoting the exchange of scientific and technological knowledge and the transfer of technologies to developing countries.” (475)


Solidarity must affirm the responsibility of leaders in developing countries to promote policies that address the common good of their people.

“Solidarity also means appealing to the responsibility of developing countries, and in particular of their political leaders, for promoting trade policies that are favorable to their peoples and exchange of technology that can improve the conditions of their food supply and health.  In such countries, there must be an increase in research investment, with special attention to the particular characteristics and needs of their territory and population…” (476)


As biotechnology researchers preserver to seek solutions to humanity’s urgent needs, they must assure gifts of the Creator be used with intergenerational equity.

“Scientists and technicians involved in the field of biotechnology are called to work intelligently and with perseverance in seeking the best solutions to the serious and urgent problems of food supply and health care.  They must not forget that their activity concerns material—both living and inanimate—that belongs to the patrimony of humanity and is destined also to future generations…It is hoped that scientists employ their energies and abilities in research characterized by enthusiasm and guided by a clear and honest conscience.” (477)


The private sector and public agencies must collaborate for the common good on the use of biotechnology, especially when addressing concerns of marginalized countries.

“Entrepreneurs and directors of public agencies involved in research, production and selling of products derived from new biotechnologies must take into account not only legitimate profit but also the common good…By their decisions, entrepreneurs and public agency directors involved in this sector can guide developments in the area of biotechnologies towards very promising ends as far as concerns the fight against hunger, especially in poorer countries, the fight against disease and the fight to safeguard the ecosystem, the common patrimony of all.” (478)


The public sector must objectively evaluate biotechnologies for support of the common good and not be swayed by special interest groups.

“Politicians, legislators and public administrators are responsible for evaluating the potential benefits and possible risks connected with the use of biotechnologies.  It is not desirable for their decisions, at the national or international level to be dictated by pressure from special interest groups.  Public authorities must also encourage a correctly informed public opinion and make decisions that are best suited for the common good.” (479)





Researchers disseminating information about biotechnology modalities must provide objective data and refrain from superficial analysis.

“Leaders in the information sector also have an important task, which must be undertaken with prudence and objectivity.  Society expects information that is complete and objective, which helps citizens to form a correct opinion concerning biotechnological products…The temptation to fall into superficial information, fueled by over enthusiasm or unjustified alarmism, must be avoided.” (480)


To read the full text of paragraphs 472 thru 480 visit:


Questions for Personal Reflection or Group Discussion

In your lifetime, what biotechnology advancement has enhanced your life the most?

How do you advocate about biotechnology that ignores the common good?

Do your elected officials seek legislative safeguards against potentially harmful biotechnologies?

How does our nation stand in solidarity globally through biotechnology?

What biotechnologies interact with the gift of Creation?


Barb Born June 25, 2013