It is most remarkable the way Catholic Bishop Luc Bouchard of Saint Paul, Alberta, spoke up against the Athabasca Oil Sands Project in his pastoral letter. Please take time to read this historical document in full at http://www.dioceseofstpaul.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=135&Itemid=11.
I am glad to see that this has been noticed by media ranging from CBC to the Globe and Mail.
Now, if a Catholic bishop takes a firm stand and expresses himself like a seasoned ecologist against mega-scale environmental destruction, this is a sign of changing times and gives hope for the future.
This phenomenal transformation reminds me of my futile attempts, in 1997, when I spent efforts to mobilize the Whitehorse Christian Ministerial Association to take a stand against the forestry and mining practices in the Yukon at that time.
I tried to inspire them with the words of Bartholomew 1, Partriarch of the Orthodox Church (Green Patriarch), the sole courageous voice who spoke out as a major religious leader. I asked them to unite and take action. This subject was not even discussed, let alone acted upon.
Here is what the Green Patriarch wrote in the 1990s:
“Excessive consumption may be understood from a world view of estrangement from self, from land, from life, from God. Consuming the fruits of the earth unrestrained, we become consumed ourselves by avarice and greed. Excessive consumption leaves us emptied, out of touch with our deepest self.
“For humans to cause species to become extinct and to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation, for humans to degrade the integrity of the Earth by causing changes in its climate, stripping the Earth of its natural forests, or destroying its wetlands, for humans to contaminate the Earth’s waters, its land, its air and its life with poisonous substances—these are sins.
“Ultimately, we must perceive our every action as having a direct effect upon the future of the environment. Human beings and the environment form a seamless garment of existence….
“If human beings treated one another’s personal property the way they treat their environment, we would view that behaviour as anti-social. We would impose the judicial measures necessary to restore wrongly appropriated personal possessions. It is therefore appropriate for us to seek ethical (and) legal recourse in matters of ecological crimes.”
I am looking forward to seeing local bishops and ministers join this tide, join forces and take a strong position. Please, for the sake of the common bond of all living things, our environment, speak up and let everyone know where you stand, just like the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Saint Paul, Luc Bouchard.