CINCINNATI, OH – Wednesday in Cincinnati at St. Monica-St. George Parish, Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr outlined how parishes and offices throughout the archdiocese are putting Pope Francis’s groundbreaking encyclical on the environment and climate change into practice.
Schnurr, along with other local and national catholic leaders, held a press conference to highlight their own efforts to put the pope’s directive into practice and reduce their diocese’s carbon footprint, striving to reduce energy costs through conservation measures and by exploring how to integrate more renewable energy sources throughout its 19 counties. Representatives from over 30 organizations, including hospitals, religious congregations, businesses, educational institutions and non-profits, came out to support the message.
With the influence of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, Schnurr said they are trying to lead by example. Jeff Bohrer, director of property management and real estate for the archdiocese, detailed how the archdiocese has saved energy and utility expenses in the operation of its own properties.
“The Holy Father’s message is an urgent, spiritual call addressed to ‘every person living on this planet’ to better care for our common home, the Earth and all of us can do something to ensure this planet remains as God intended,” said Archbishop Schnurr as he went on to make a call to action from Ohio residents and leaders. “We are calling on all residents to use less and save energy more. We are also asking local utilities and businesses to prioritize programs for energy efficiency and use fewer fossil fuels in energy production and economic activities. And we are calling on policymakers at all levels to prioritize care for creation in their considerations.”
The archbishop said that can include more energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives from the state as well as a program of national carbon standards, which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops supports. He encouraged leaders to engage in a robust and healthy debate about how we go about establishing effective policies, but we must still act to guide market forces and individual actions towards the common good.”
Other national leaders, like Dan Misleh, executive director of Catholic Climate Covenant, expressed similar sentiments and urged broad action by American Catholics to get our leaders to support clean energy and climate policies.
“We must act boldly by example and must engage fully in the public square to remind policymakers that the common good should be at the forefront of their concerns,” Misleh said. “For Catholics and others of faith, economic and political decisions always have moral consequences, including those within the energy sector.” Misleh added that the event in Cincinnati is part of a series of events that the Covenant is supporting around the country, including ones in Des Moines and Chicago earlier in July and ones in Norfolk, Virginia, and Sacramento in August.