Thursday, November 5, 2020

Korea's Catholic Church Ecological Hope

Korean Catholic Climate Action launched their movement early this year which began with a street march expressing their response to the climate crisis. A report of the event was in the recent Catholic Times Weekly. They are responding to the urgent ecological crisis and hoping to have it spread to the entire church.

Currently, there is a lack of awareness of the ecological crises in the church community. One sister, a member of the Action Team, set the basic purpose of the activities conducted in the parish as the "Carbon Reduction Movement," and suggested some specific measures that can be implemented in the parishes.  

"We must raise awareness of the ecological crisis nationwide through training of priests and district leaders." Sister emphasized that "above all, the change in the consciousness of the priests is important and should lead to practice."
 ▲ campaign to install solar panels in church communities. ▲ install electric vehicle charging stations in church area ▲ support operating funds for solar panel installation in poor parishes and mission stations ▲ campaign to reject investment in coal companies and use banks that have withdrawn coal investment ▲Installation of ecological banners in parishes ▲Designation of days when the parish refrain from the use of the automobile ▲periods of banning the use of plastics and vinyl ▲ reduce eating meat ▲ use of biodegradable Eco-friendly packaging materials ▲A petition for carbon reduction legislation such as plastic use tax ▲begin a parish ecological education system ▲Suggestions for activities such as solidarity with local civic groups.
One participant said: "The church's consciousness about solar power is far behind society." Even though the priests of the parish want solar power, most believers reject or have resentment because they don't want to damage the sanctity of the church. The installation of solar power facilities in the parish is indeed difficult to pass in parish councils. As it turns out, solar panels have no choice but to proceed not with church buildings, but centering on rooftop of educational centers, believers' homes, and other sites.

However, since it is indispensable to expand the use of renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions, the parishes, religious congregations, and institutions should participate in this issue, and the need to inform and proclaim this at the parish level.

Meanwhile, a new approach to integrating the response to the ecological crisis with "making peace through armament reduction" was proposed.

Another participant said: "The year 2020, which began with the corona pandemic, made us more aware of the connectivity of all beings, and when we recognize that this ecological crisis is transcending national boundaries, climate disaster is directly connected to security issues." Now that both South and North Korea have suffered a lot of damage from the corona and the climate crisis, if the two countries reduce the military costs that consume astronomical sums,  money will me available for many other needed works.This will be necessary for peace on the Korean Peninsula and for the safety of the people of both countries.”

Fortunately, the Korean Catholic Bishops released a special pastoral text, "In front of our crying mother Earth," on October 16, after the regular general meeting of the bishops.

In a special pastoral text, the bishops stated: "Today's climate crisis and the cry of Mother Earth are one of the most important themes of evangelization and pastoral activities that the church should carry out." The direction is presented, and each parish and committee needs to establish a specific plan and put it into action. Also, specific guidelines for practice were prepared and were sent to each diocese and organization. Accordingly, it is expected that the 'Catholic Climate Action' will be able to carry out more active and diverse activities in solidarity with each parish.

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