On September 6, 2021, an important meeting of bishops responsible for the preservation of the environment in the episcopal conferences of the Carpathian region took place in Budapest.
The bishops met during the 23rd World Eucharistic Congress, declaring their commitment to the protection of the Creation that God has entrusted to all mankind, and united in prayer for the preservation of Carpathians’ nature. Faith leaders emphasized the effects of natural destruction and climate change, such as forest fires in Latin America and Russia, floods in Europe, and other disasters, as well they mentioned people in prayer that suffering from environmental damage caused by selfishness and neglection of the Carpathians’ nature and climate. The bishops invited everyone to come together to ask for forgiveness: “we continue to hurt God’s Creation – which He called “extremely good” (Genesis 1:31) – through the improper use of natural resources leading to the destruction and pollution of nature. We ask forgiveness: we intend to change our hearts and behavior, to turn to people with pastoral inspiration and to the Church with a call to action to spread the seeds of justice. Together with all those who are not indifferent, we look for the fruits of mercy to grow, contributing to the restoration of the beauty of Creation.
The participants of the meeting declared their commitment to the creation that God has entrusted to us, and they pointed to that “each Christian community in the Carpathians is called to strengthen itself and grow in its mission by concrete good deeds inspired by its spiritual tradition”. Therefore, we invite Christians and all people of goodwill to show their responsibility towards Creation, to take concrete and wise actions to work as good decision-makers, and fight against inequality by protecting forest ecosystems, biodiversity, and the air, water, and climate of the Carpathians. Being conscious of the growing need to protect Creation, we invite all Christians in the Carpathians to celebrate the Season of Creation, following their own spiritual and liturgical traditions, to show responsibility for the Creation by concrete actions to protect it in a common faith in God the Creator. We appeal all Christians to act by guiding believers through the Word, through catechesis and preaching and to begin ecological activities through the social service of the Church.”
At the meeting, the faith leaders took the first step by setting up an initiative group to protect the nature of the Carpathians, whose efforts will be coordinated with the work of “the Protection of Creation” section of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences [CCEE], European Christian Ecological Network [ECEN], and other Christian and expert organizations, local self-government authorities, the Carpathian Convention and the Danube Strategy to achieve these goals. The initiative group has outlined the implementation of a certain plan of activities for responsibility for Creation in the Carpathians, certain analysis and summarizing of which will take place at the next meeting in Uzhgorod at a given time.
The meeting was attended by experts from Hungary, Ukraine, Slovakia, and bishops:
– Bishop Antal Mainek, Chairman of the Commission on Ecology of the Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops of Ukraine;
– Bishop Jan Babiak, Chairman of the Environmental Subcommittee of the Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops of Slovakia;
– Bishop Janos Seikeli, Chairman of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops of Hungary.
REFERENCE: From 1999 to 2004, The Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) held a series of conferences on responsibility for Creation. This gave rise to the creation of ecological divisions at the episcopal conferences of European countries: the Commission on Ecology of the Roman Catholic Conference of Bishops of Ukraine (2001); Commission on Ecology of the Mukachevo Greek Catholic Diocese (2004); Bureau of Ecology of the UGCC (2007) https://www.ecoburougcc.org.ua/; Institute of Ecological and Religious Studies (2012) https://www.iers.org.ua/; Interreligious Civil Environmental Forum of Eastern Europe (2016) https://ircef.org/.
Information service of the Institute of Ecological and Religious Studies