Is it a sin if we don’t help to reduce climate change?

Want to be part of St John’s climate change group? Please join us online for the next meeting of the Saint Francis of Assisi ministry on Tues, July 19 at 5:30. Contact us for a Zoom invite.

A listener named Laurie from Kentucky, asked Sisters Maxine Kollasch and Shannon Shrine on their Ask Sister podcast that is part of the A Nun’s Life Ministry if it was sinful to not be acting personally on climate change. (I did my best to capture the dialog of the podcast without any transcript and have edited it to fit. Check out the original podcast.) Laurie’s question:

I am Catholic and I have noticed lately there is more discussion about the Pope’s document, Laudato Si. Given the scientific news about how fast the climate is changing, that’s not surprising. What I don’t hear about much about is whether or not our personal decisions about things related to climate change, such as how much we drive a car or how much processed food we eat are forms of sin…Should I be doing more?

Sisters Maxine and Shannon did their best to answer this question. Excerpts of their response:

Climate change is a serious issue…The choices we make, don’t just have an effect on us and our comfort, but they also have an effect on the poor, the ecology, and the climate…We need to examine our carbon footprints…We certainly have a responsibility to be concerned about others, to be concerned about our planet…To care for it and for those who will want to use it after us….In terms of sin, it has to do with our motivation and why you make a choice to do something or not do something. Your intention is important…In this case, the more aware we are of things we can do, the more responsible we are. Therefore when we choose to ignore them we are edging on things that are sinful. 

A great question and a wonderful answer; one that made me think; hopefully it makes you think too. Working together, we can help take care of our common home.  

Paul Litwin

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