The heads of the Catholic Church in England, Wales and Scotland – Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Philip Tartaglia – have urged Catholics to embrace the opportunity to study Pope Francis’ work.
In a joint statement, from the encyclical study guide created by Cafod and Sciaf, the senior clerics said: “Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, is an open dialogue with all people on the care of our common home.
“As a Catholic community, we are called by our faith to stand alongside poor communities and love God’s creation.”
The study guide, available from September 5th, is intended as a short accompaniment to Laudato Si’.
It contains passages from the encyclical, first-person accounts from poor communities around the world and parishioners in the UK, as well as discussion questions, ideas for action and sections on prayer and reflection.
It’s aim is to help people “to deepen understanding of the theology of creation and to encourage practical application of the encyclical’s themes”.
Cafod and Sciaf have also joined with more than a hundred Catholic organisations from all over the world, as part of the Global Catholic Climate Movement.
Together they are gathering signatures for a petition calling on world leaders to live up to the challenge set by the encyclical, and act to tackle climate change and poverty.
So far, nearly 10,000 Catholics in the UK have added their names.
Director of Cafod Chris Bain said: “The Pope’s message is one of hope: calling us to live out Gospel values and to work together to create a just world in which everyone and everything thrives.”
He added the study guide will “provide very practical ways” for people to engage with the “richness of the encyclical.”
Director of Sciaf Alistair Dutton said: “In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis urges us to grow in love for God, ourselves, each other and the natural world which sustains us.
“Our failure to attend to the interconnected nature of our world and care for our common home has caused widespread environmental destruction which hurts the poorest among us the most.
“I hope this study guide will help us all to savour the depths of Pope Francis’ reflections, explore the spiritual, social and environmental challenges we face, and respond to his urgent call as one human family.”
The encyclical study guide is a free resource produced by both agencies.
A DVD of short talks by theologians including Bishop Marcelo Sorondo and Dr Karen Kilby has also been made to accompany it.
To order visit the Cafod website.