Havoc of Covid-19 ‘will pale’ compared with that of climate change, archbishop says

Dermot Farrell says ‘God now calls us to work for the good of the planet’

Trees burn during the French Fire in the Sequoia National Forest, California, US, last week.  The Archbishop of Dublin has issued a warning on climate change. Photograph:  Patrick T Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Trees burn during the French Fire in the Sequoia National Forest, California, US, last week. The Archbishop of Dublin has issued a warning on climate change. Photograph: Patrick T Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

 

The havoc caused by the Covid-19 pandemic “will pale when compared to that of climate change”, Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell has said.

“What we need to realise is that, over the coming decades, the issues currently arising from climate change will impact far more on us than those from the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

Humans were “unequivocally driving global warming. It is beyond doubt that climate change is being caused by what we have done – and continue to do – in upsetting nature’s equilibrium and balance,” he said.

The archbishop was speaking in a statement launching his 64-page pastoral letter on the climate crisis. The pastoral letter is titled “The Cry of the Earth, the Cry of the Poor”.

“The future of life on this Earth, which God created and which ‘He saw was good’ (Genesis 1:21-25), hangs in the balance,” he said.

Scientists had issued a “code red” not just for the environment, but for humanity itself, he said. “Faith and science are not opponents; in a truly Christian view, faith and reason – fides et ratio – go hand in hand. God reveals himself through the world. That is the heart of our Catholic faith,” he said. “God now calls us, individually and collectively, to work for the good of the planet and the good of all,” he added.

“All too often ‘religion’ appears as if it is no more than an intellectual failure of nerve. However, true religion is not a flight from the world: faith that is alive provides a framework for people to make decisions and take action,” he said. “As a church, and as a society, we need to reflect with greater depth, urgency, and seriousness about what we must do” about climate change, he said.

He appealed to people “if not for your own sake, then for the sake of your children, and for the world’s children” to reflect on issues raised in the pastoral letter.

People might also consider signing the “Healthy Planet, Healthy People” petition, endorsed by the Holy See and which advocates limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, he said.

They might engage too with the Archdiocese of Dublin’s Laudato Sì prize, an initiative intended “to incentivise imaginative and bold responses in the face of the climate catastrophe”, he said.

“The Cry of the Earth, the Cry of the Poor” is available at Veritas bookshops