Bishop John in the grounds of Wardley Hall

Hearing the Cry: Responding with Hope – A Message from Bishop John

Tuesday 28th February 2023

This Lent, we’re sharing our updated environment strategy, Hearing the Cry: Responding in Hope – a positive new document setting out our diocesan response to our ecological crisis.

The document begins with a powerful call from Bishop John, reminding us that caring for creation is an integral part of our Catholic faith – a faith grounded in hope.

Despite the severity of the challenges we face, it is precisely this sense of hope that provides the building blocks for our strategy, highlighting the positive impact we can make within our diocese and the wider Christian community for the good of our common home.

Please continue reading for more from Bishop John.

Bishop John’s Introduction to Hearing the Cry: Responding with Hope

“As Bishop of Salford and as the Environment Lead for the Bishops Conference, I write and speak regularly about the ecological crisis and the need to take urgent action. Each time, I can list another example of the irreversible damage that climate change is having on our common home.

“The devastation that we are witnessing is no longer in isolated occurrences but a constant reminder that we are now at a ‘vital moment’ or a ‘turning point’. We no longer have to look around our world to see severe droughts, floods, rising sea-levels, extreme record-breaking temperatures, species driven to extinction and communities displaced – the consequences of the ecological crisis are to be seen on our doorstep.

“The impact of our actions and our way of life are inflicting damage across our common home, affecting millions of people, most often in the poorest countries of the world and for people who have done least to damage our environment.

“We have long been saying that the time for action is now, but we are not reacting quickly enough to repair the damage. Indeed, we are inflicting further harm.

“In September 2021 we were pleased to share with you, “For the Beauty of the Earth”, which is our commitment to Environmental Action. The document is a guide to put our Christian faith into action protecting the environment. It built upon work already undertaken in our Diocese.

“Now we are taking the next step. “Hearing the Cry: Responding with Hope” is our strategic response, providing more details of the commitment to be made in the Diocese. It has one main ask of all of us, that we work together as one Diocese, united towards creating transformative change and healing for our common home.

“It is only by creating a cultural change, where we listen to the cry of the earth and cry of the people, that we will advance in any way towards achieving the systemic change needed at all levels; home, parish and schools. We will also look to use our influence in the wider community as a Christian community leading by example and putting our faith into action.

“We will be providing specific actions that we are asking all our parishes and schools to undertake, and we will share opportunities to learn from each other as we respond to one of the most serious and urgent challenges we are facing as a world today.

“It is several years since the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, where we were all called to undertake an ecological conversion, learning to care for creation and to protect our common home for generations to come. In the Diocese we responded at an individual, parish, school and diocesan level. These actions were encouraged not only by Laudato Si’ but by the Church’s commitment to care for creation, a responsibility that is grounded in many papal encyclicals and Catholic Social Teaching.

“Now is the time to unite these actions and responsibilities and set ourselves a plan that is ambitious and understands the scale of change that is needed, and one that is grounded in Christian Hope. Our joint response brings us together, maximising its impact, guided by prayer and Church teaching.

“That is why this document is so important. Together, as the Diocese, we are united to hear and respond to the cry of our earth and all people. We will respond, not only out of necessity but with hope, that the voice of the church can unite us to work together to create a different legacy for the next generation. We ask that you join us on that journey of hope.

“Stay with us Lord, on our Journey.”

Watch the video below to hear more from Bishop John.


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