Thursday, February 19, 2015

Catholic Group Launches Global Climate-Focused Lenten Fast

Pope Francis (Credit: AP) Click to Enlarge.
Forty days of Lent this year will equate to 40 days of fasting for Catholics in 40-plus countries in a push for greater unity and action around the issue of climate change.

The Global Catholic Climate Movement, which formed in January, officially announced on Monday the Lenten Fast for Climate Justice. The goal is to raise awareness on climate change as well as for Pope Francis’ Lenten call to confront “a globalization of indifference,” and to spur world leaders to work out a binding agreement to stave off a temperature rise above 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), compared to pre-industrial levels.  Climate scientists and politicians have regularly pointed to maintaining an increase of no more than 2 degrees Celsius to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

“The essential message is reduce our carbon footprint and increase our spiritual footprint,” said Jacqui Rémond, director of Catholic Earthcare Australia, which is coordinating the fast there.

The climate justice fast is one of several similar efforts worldwide.  The Fast for the Climate is an interfaith campaign that began Dec. 1 -- the start of the United Nations climate negotiations in Lima, Peru -- and will continue through the end of November when the talks resume in Paris.  The interfaith group Our Voices and the Anglican church in South Africa are also holding climate-focused Lenten fasts.
Rather than asking each country to hold a continuous 40-day fast, the climate fast will operate in a pass-the-baton fashion, with a different country -- represented by a group of people or, in some cases, an individual -- observing it each day before giving way to the next nation in line.  In keeping with church tradition, all Catholics are asked to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

The U.S. fasting date is set for March 16.

Read more at Catholic Group Launches Global Climate-Focused Lenten Fast

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