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News Story

June 18, 2018 —  Nearly
600 U.S. Catholic organizations declared that they are “still in” to support
the Paris Agreement on the third anniversary of the release of Pope
Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on the environment
, Laudato Si’.


More than 80 U.S. Jesuit institutions were among those to sign
on to the Catholic Climate Declaration,
which responds to President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris
Agreement. The declaration, which affirms the commitment of U.S. Catholic
institutions to stand by the Paris Agreement and help meet its goals, was
organized by Catholic Climate Covenant (CCC) and its partner members, including
the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, as
well as the five U.S. Jesuit provinces were among those to sign on. Other U.S. Jesuit
apostolates to sign it included 22 Jesuit colleges and universities; 16 Jesuit
high schools; 13 Jesuit parishes; 12 Jesuit communities; the Association of
Jesuit Colleges and Universities; the Jesuit Schools Network; Jesuit
Refugee Service/USA; and the Ignatian Solidarity Network.

“We’re very excited the Jesuit Conference, as well as all of
the U.S. Jesuit provinces and so many institutions in our network, have joined
Catholic leaders in signing this Catholic Climate Declaration affirming their
support and commitment to climate action through the goals of the Paris
Agreement,” said Cecilia Calvo, senior advisor on environmental justice for the
Jesuit Conference’s Office of Justice and Ecology. “We know U.S. leadership and
urgent action is needed to protect our common home, human life and dignity, and
poor and vulnerable people hardest hit by climate change.”

Fordham University was another of the Jesuit institutions to
sign the declaration. Jesuit Father Joseph M. McShane, president, said, “There
are few issues as consequential for the human family — and indeed life on Earth
— as combating climate change.” Fr. McShane said that signing it signals
the “university’s intellectual and moral support for actions that will help
determine the fates of billions of people. The need is urgent, and the time is
now.”

Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines and the bishop liaison to
CCC, said, “The immorality of inaction on climate change has been clear for a
long time. With ever-increasing temperatures fueling super hurricanes as well
as extending and deepening droughts, we are seeing the tragedies of inaction up
close and personal.”

Sister Sharlet Wagner, CSC, president-elect of the
Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), noted that climate change is
not a political issue but a moral one. “God’s creation is in peril by our own
actions. Yet we know it is a gift for us to enjoy, safeguard, and protect for
future generations.” [Sources: Catholic
Climate Covenant
, NCR]

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