Joint Statement Calls for Collaborative Action
Montréal, Québec, Canada — Leaders of the four Congregations of Holy Cross sisters, brothers and priests have issued a joint statement on climate change, declaring “Earth and the life it sustains are precious gifts of God” and calling action to safeguard these gifts “a moral responsibility integral to the mission of the Family of Holy Cross.”
The statement commits the four Holy Cross congregations, numbering over 2,800 members around the world, to collaboratively take specific actions to stem the global climate crisis. These actions include fostering an ethos of care for God’s creation, resisting the culture of consumerism, reducing energy consumption, and achieving carbon neutrality in the congregations by 2050.
The congregations’ leaders, commenting on the scope and significance of the statement, noted, “With the Holy Cross family ministering in 19 countries on five continents, we realized the positive impact we could have on climate change by pooling our experience, expertise and energy. By signing a joint statement, we have committed our congregations to work together on specific goals in response to this global crisis. Because climate change especially affects marginalized peoples, our response is a matter of justice and solidarity.”
Holy Cross congregations serve impoverished and vulnerable people, many of whom live in areas already experiencing the impact of climate change, particularly Bangladesh and sections of east and west Africa where droughts, floods, loss of work and population migration are occurring. “Climate change is already destroying Earth’s life-support systems, and endangering human health and security,” the statement reads. “Those least responsible and most affected are poor people and nations.”
The signing of the statement took place at a meeting of the four general councils of Holy Cross, hosted by the Sisters of Holy Cross in Pierrefonds, Québec, Canada, from September 28 to October 1. The four congregations are the Marianites of Holy Cross, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; the Congregation of Holy Cross (priests and brothers), Rome, Italy; the Congregation of the Sisters of Holy Cross, Montréal, Québec, Canada; and the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA.
The statement was developed by the Holy Cross International Justice Office (HCIJO), which animates and unites the social justice work of the four congregations. By providing educational resources and action opportunities, the HCIJO works to develop a well-informed, unified, public Holy Cross voice able to impact critical justice issues of the times.
According to HCIJO director Sister Mary Turgi, CSC, “This joint commitment of the Holy Cross congregations to address climate change could not be more timely as we enter the final phase of preparations for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December (7-18). Every day of inaction brings accelerated climate change. It is imperative that all of us, at all levels of society, take steps now to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advocate for a fair and effective climate deal in Copenhagen.”