Catholics’ Lenten fast for climate justice set

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MANILA, Feb. 16, 2015—Catholics from over 45 countries will take part in a 40-day Lenten fast for climate justice starting on Feb. 18, Ash Wednesday, until Mar. 28, the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) announced.

In a recent statement, GCCM shares participants in the fast vow to pray for a united Catholic stand on climate change, as well as for world leaders to take all possible steps to meet a global temperature increase of less than 1.5 degrees Celsius, relative to pre-industrial levels, through a “fair, ambitious, and legally binding” global agreement in the COP 21 summit in Paris.

Recycling during Lent

The activity encourages participants to fast not only from food, but also abstaining from products and services made possible by carbon use, especially oil, electricity, plastic, paper, water, and the like, to recycle during Lent.

The movement  explained it chose fasting for its first worldwide action in answer to Pope Francis’ call that “all people need to act as ‘protectors of creation’”

“We encourage Catholics around the world to unite, pray and fast in solidarity with those who are most affected by the changing global climate,” stated Patrick Carolan, executive director of the US-based Franciscan Action Network.

Power behind fasting

In the wake of Typhoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), Philippine Climate Commissioner Yeb Saño captured the world’s attention with his own fast when he told the United Nations (UN) that the power behind fasting lies in its “purity of purpose and the sense of selflessness necessary to embark on fasting”.

“This is the power of the fast—because it is meant for our aspirations of a better world,” he added.

GCCM is an international coalition composed of laity, religious, and clergy, theologians, scientists, and activists from Argentina, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Kenya, Australia, the United States, and many other nations, united by their Catholic faith and work in various roles and organizations on climate change issues.

“Our collaboration echoes the global dimensions of the Catholic Church and a shared sense of responsibility to care for God’s beautiful, life-giving creation. We are inspired by Church teachings and guided by the virtue of prudence—understood by St. Thomas Aquinas as ‘right reason applied to action’,” it said.

The GCCM 40-day Climate Justice Fast is part of the 365 day #FastForTheClimate since Dec. 1, 2014, the start of COP20 in Lima, and will run until the Nov. 30, 2015, the start of COP21 in Paris. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

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