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6 December 2015
posted by Canon Dakin on 19-12-2015

2nd Sunday of Advent

When I was a student, for two weeks of the year we were allowed to roam. Three or four of us would often take a bus into the hills east of Rome and just begin walking. The area is called Abruzzo, a large part of it now being a national  park. It was countryside filled with country folk and if you met one of them on the road the greeting would not be ‘Buon giorno’.Good day, but ‘Sia lodato Gesu Christo’, Praised be Jeus Christ, to which the response was ‘Sempre sia lodato’, May He be praised for ever more. So now you know the meaning of the title of Pope Francis’ latest encyclical Lodato si - Praised be.  

The reference is to St Francis’ Canticle in which God is praised for all creation - the sun and moon and stars, herbs and plants and all living things.  The Pope is saying that the world, our home, is in need of loving care, in desperate need of remedial care.  For generations we have been pouring smoke into the sky.  Industry  was driven by coal-fired energy. then came gas, which still produces smoke. It was not only the mills that belched smoke. Many of us remember living in homes where the coal fire in the kitchen was not only the source of heat and hot water but where kettles and pans were boiled and from which the oven was heated. Imagine mllions of homes all over the country  which depended on wood or coal, their chimneys carrying gasses up into the stmosphere, where they don’t just disappear; they acumulate and become the cause of dangerous global warming causing floods and droughts which could eventually make the earth uninhabitable. There is a conference of representatives of nearly two hundred nations meeing presently in Paris to decide on a plan on which all might agree to at least halt an increase in global warming. Pope Francis said on his flight back to Rome from Africa: “We are on the verge of suicide, to use a strong word, and I’m sure that people in Paris are aware of this and want to do something about it”.  Previously in Nairobi he had said it would be a catastrophe if world leaders did not face up to the need  to do something to protect the environment. We can’t afford to be indifferent, for the sake of future generations.

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