Dolan endorses People’s Climate March

by Brian Roewe

NCR environment correspondent

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It seems these days there’s nary a public procession through New York’s streets that Cardinal Timothy Dolan can’t get behind.

Nearly two weeks after he said he had no qualms with the decision to allow gay groups to participate in the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade under their own banners, Dolan took to his blog Tuesday to promote the People’s Climate March, scheduled for Sunday morning.

“It would be wonderful if there were a strong Catholic presence at the march, to indicate our prayerful support of God’s creation,” the cardinal wrote.

The climate march is expected to bring as many as 100,000 people to Manhattan ahead of a special United Nations climate summit on Sept. 23.

The participants, which include numerous faith groups, including the Sisters of Mercy and the Franciscan Action Network, are seeking “an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution,” according to the march's websiteTo symbolize the effects climate change has on the poor and other vulnerable peoples, such as the indigenous people of the Pacific islands, representatives from those frontline communities will lead the march along its two-mile route.

“The world we live in, all of creation, is a gift from God and a great sign of His love for us,” the cardinal wrote. He noted Pope Francis has repeatedly called for protection of the environment, and cited the pontiff’s message during a May general audience in St. Peter’s Square:

“When we exploit [creation], we destroy the sign of His love. Destroying creation is like saying to God, ‘I don’t like it’, and this is not good, it is a sin. Care for creation is care for God’s gift to us, and it means saying to God, ‘thank you, I am the custodian of creation, but to enable it to progress, never to destroy your gift. ... This must be our attitude in relation to creation, to protect it, because if we destroy creation, creation will destroy us! Do not forget this.”

This summer has seen other bishops publicly advocate for action in addressing a warming planet. In July, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, wrote to Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, regarding their support for a national standard aimed at reducing carbon from existing power plants.

The Catholic Climate Covenant has encouraged Catholics to comment on EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. 

While Dolan did not indicate whether he would join Sunday’s march, scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m., he provided two links to more information about the demonstration: one to the faith groups’ section of the People’s Climate March site, and another from the Franciscan Action Network.

[Brian Roewe is an NCR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter: @BrianRoewe.]

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