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April 27, 2022

Young Catholics and Climate Change

Living Laudato Si'

Young Catholics and Climate Change Video Player

Showing the Young Catholics and Climate Change Video

The climate crisis is a global challenge threatening both the natural world and the poor around the world. In the United States and in other nations, young people are leading the response to “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” through social movements, organizing efforts, policy initiatives, and other creative, collaborative approaches to help address climate change. Many Catholics and other young people of faith are at the center of these efforts. Catholic social thought—from scripture and the Gospels to Church teaching from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis—offers a framework to “care for our common home.”

This Salt and Light Gathering brought together a young adult leader from Catholic Climate Covenant, a community organizer in Louisiana’s “cancer alley,” an academic who co-authored a study on U.S. Catholic bishops’ silence on climate change, and a theologian from Brazil who is part of Laudato Si’ Movement to explore these and other questions:

  • How do Pope Francis and Laudato Si’ challenge younger generations to act on climate change and to “care for our common home”?
  • How has the faith community in the United States responded to Pope Francis’ call “to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor”: to connect climate justice, racial justice, and economic justice? What needs to be done to make these connections stronger?
  • How do young Catholics respond to climate change? What are the challenges, frustrations, and successes of faith-based climate justice work?
  • How can Catholic social thought guide our actions on climate change as a moral test, scientific reality, and policy challenge?

Anna Gordon, program director of the Initiative, moderated the conversation.

Resources

View a list of articles, books, and other resources for this gathering.

This Salt and Light Gathering was for young Catholics under 40 to explore links between faith, Catholic social thought, and their lives and work.

Participants

Daniel DiLeo

Daniel DiLeo

Daniel DiLeo is a theologian, associate professor, and director of the justice and peace studies program at Creighton University. His research focuses on Catholic social teaching, climate change, and Laudato Si’. He is the co-author of a 2021 study on U.S. Catholic bishops’ silence and denial on climate change.

Sharon Lavigne

Sharon Lavigne

Sharon Lavigne is the 2021 Goldman Prize for North America recipient and the 2022 Laetare Medal recipient from the University of Notre Dame. She leads Rise St. James, a faith-based grassroots organization that fights for environmental justice in St. James Parish, Louisiana.

Suzana Moreira

Suzana Moreira

Suzana Moreira is a theologian based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the coordinator of eco-conversion programs for Laudato Si’ Movement which seeks to inspire and mobilize the Catholic community to care for our common home and achieve climate and ecological justice.

Anna Robertson

Anna Robertson

Anna Robertson is the director of youth and young adult mobilization at Catholic Climate Covenant which inspires and equips people and institutions to care for creation and care for the poor. Previously, Anna was a campus minister at Seattle University and accompanied college students on international immersion experiences in Latin America.