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On the eve of Earth Day, a coalition of Catholic groups launched a broad initiative Tuesday (April 21) to encourage Catholic churches, institutions and families to combat climate change and advocate for the poor in the debate over the environment.
The Catholic Climate Covenant asks the nation’s 65 million Catholics to connect their religious values with care for the Earth, to learn how climate change affects poverty-stricken regions, and to lobby legislators on behalf of the poor.
The “heart of the effort” is the new St. Francis Pledge, said coalition executive director Dan Misleh. The pledge, which was sent to the nation’s 17,000 Catholic parishes and 6,300 elementary schools, asks Catholics to pray, learn, assess, act and advocate on climate change.
“This is not just one more environmental message or one more plea to serve those in need, but an urgent call and a different message,” said Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., the former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “How does our Catholic community and our nation care for those most affected by impacts and remedies of climate change and reduce harmful behaviors impacting God’s gift of creation?”
The 12-member Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, which is spearheading the effort, includes the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops, Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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