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Filipino Catholics launch signature drive for environment

Organizers seek 12 million pledges as part of event to mark 'Laudato si'' second anniversary

Filipino Catholics launch signature drive for environment

Philippine environmental activists attend a Mass to mark the second anniversary of Laudato si' in Manila on June 17. (Photo supplied)

June 19, 2017

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Filipino Catholics marked the second anniversary of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato si’ with a campaign that aims to gather at least 12 million pledges to protect the environment.

Organizers of the initiative said the signature drive "is an invitation for all of us to commit to the environment."

Columban Father John Leydon, a convenor of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, said the Philippines needs to respond to the challenge to protect the "common home."

The priest noted that Filipinos have been "slow in responding" to the call to action of the pope's encyclical.

Father Leydon said most are not aware that "they are destroying God's creation through their lifestyle."

"We are all in need of conversion that leads to a change of lifestyle," he said. 

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, meanwhile, challenged those who signified support for the campaign "to take the pledge seriously and live it."

"Pray for and with creation, live more simply, and advocate to protect our common home," said the prelate in a video message during the activity in Manila on June 17.

Thomas Insua, global coordinator of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, said that two years after Laudato si’, the world is still in a "pretty bad situation" as far as environmental protection is concerned.

"The church still believes that there is hope," he told ucanews.com. "We need to change our course and engage governments to address this pressing issue," he added.

The goal of the two-year global campaign is to encourage Catholics to sign and live the "Laudato si’ pledge."

A smartphone application will soon be introduced for people to sign the pledge. The mobile app can also be used by pledgers to monitor their carbon footprints.

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