Cardinal O’Malley Convenes Climate Symposium at which Antal and Bullitt-Jonas Speak
Massachusetts Conference Minister & President The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal and the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas were two of the featured speakers last week at an unprecedented gathering of religious leaders and scientists invited to come together to talk about climate change by the Archdiocese of Boston.
Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley said the idea of bringing the group together came from Phil Duffy, the CEO of the Woods Hole Research Center, and is a response to the Pope's 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’, which calls for “protecting our common home and the dignity of the poor.”
"We wanted to explore the potential of forming a coalition of leaders drawn from the religious and scientific communities in Massachusetts to advance those concepts," O'Malley said in his blog. "We anticipate that the coalition will seek to continue the conversation and to explore ways we can better pursue public policy proposals related to environmental issues at the state level. We also believe that the coalition can engage in both public education and in partnership with our schools."
In her blog post about the event, The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas (Missioner for Creation Care for the Conference and for the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts), called the gathering an "extraordinary conversation."
"Although scientists sometimes serve as advisers and consultants to religious leaders, and although scientists may turn to religion for inspiration, to form a coalition of religious leaders and scientists 'would be something new under the sun,'" she said. "Such a partnership has enormous potential in this perilous time. In fact, such a partnership may be not just desirable, but even essential."
In his remarks at the gathering, Antal called on religious leaders to make reversing climate change a new vocation of all religious people.
"We are – and must be – people of imagination and determination. We must imagine that a new world is possible – and that we – along with our churches, synagogues, mosques and temples -- are called by God to create it," he said. "And if we recognize God’s call, then we must be determined to shift our understanding of God’s call to our congregations. Our congregations cannot stand idly by while God’s creation is turned into a pile of filth – to quote Pope Frances. Acting on climate must take root at the core of what it means to be a religious person in Massachusetts – and in America."
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