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Philippines

Filipino Catholics mark start of 'Season of Creation'

Those who presume to be owners of creation cannot promote environmental protection, Cardinal Tagle says

ucanews.com reporter, Manila

ucanews.com reporter, Manila

Published: September 02, 2019 05:11 AM GMT

Updated: September 02, 2019 05:15 AM GMT

Filipino Catholics mark start of 'Season of Creation'

Catholic nuns enjoy an early morning 'walk for creation' at the start of the observance of the 'Season of Creation' in Manila on Sept. 1. (Photo by Jire Carreon)

Philippine church leaders renewed calls for the protection of the environment as the Catholic Church marked the start of this year's "Season of Creation" on Sept. 1.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila appealed to Catholics to be more active as "stewards" in caring for nature during the start of the celebration.

In 2015, Pope Francis declared Sept. 1 as the "World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation" and called for the celebration of the "Season of Creation."

In his homily during an early morning celebration attended by various church groups and students, Cardinal Tagle reminded people not to be "presumptive owners [of creation]."

He said, "the root cause of destruction is pride" and warned that those "who are under the illusion that they are the owners of created things" cannot promote the protection of the environment.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan reminded Catholics that, "there is only one earth" and "all creation is interconnected."

"The earth is like the human body. If you destroy or hurt one part, you are destroying or hurting the entire body," he said.

Columban priest John Leydon, convener of the Philippine branch of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, noted growing support from people for the "Season of Creation."

"We see more people pledging their support for the movement," he said, adding that Catholic organizations have started divesting from "dirty energy" like coal.

Father Leydon said his organization is working with various church groups to engage communities in addressing the "climate emergency."
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In July, bishops issued a pastoral letter calling for "ecological conversion" and instructing dioceses across the Philippines to take concrete action in caring for the environment.

The pastoral letter stressed that protecting “our common home” is not only a Christian duty, but a moral imperative.

Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said Catholics "cannot just be bystanders anymore" and should treat the climate emergency with urgency.

"Collective global action [is needed] to protect biodiversity," said the priest.

"Climate action becomes all the more necessary because the problem is exacerbated by the carbon monoxide coming from the burning Amazon," he said.

August saw global outrage erupt over the fires raging in the Amazon.

The National Space Research Institute reported that there have been 3,859 new fire outbreaks in the past week, roughly 2,000 of which were in the Amazon.

Mark Saludes contributed to this report.

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