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WASHINGTON—Catholic scholars, U.S. bishops and Catholic leaders from around the Washington region will discuss the moral and religious implications of global climate change and environmental justice at a November 8-10 symposium at The Catholic University of America (CUA). "A Catholic Consultation on Environmental Justice and Climate Change: Assessing Pope Benedict XVI's Ecological Vision for the Catholic Church in the United States" is sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), CUA's Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, and the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change.
"We have seen the destructive impact of climate change and environmental degradation both around the world and at home," said Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. "These impacts often multiply the hardship experienced by the most vulnerable people in the world.Pope Benedict has consistently drawn attention to these issues and urges all to take moral responsibility to reduce our environmental impact and our carbon footprint. This symposium is an important step in guiding our Catholic response to these challenges."
Bishop Bernard Unabali from Papau New Guinea will deliver the symposium's opening address on Thursday evening. Bishop Unabali assisted with the relocation of many residents of the Carteret Islands to his diocese. These residents, among the world's first "climate refugees," were forced to abandon their islands due to the impacts of climate change.
Other bishops in attendance will include Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California; Bishop Donald Kettler of Fairbanks, Alaska; Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida; Bishop John Ricard, retired bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida; and Bishop William Skylstad, retired bishop of Spokane, Washington.
Scholars presenting on the moral and theological dimensions of ecology and climate change will come from the following colleges and universities: CUA, Fordham, St. Louis, Graduate Theological Union, Notre Dame, Duke, Marquette, Xavier, Duquesne, Santa Clara, Mount St. Mary's and Georgetown.
The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change is a consortium of national Catholic organizations including the USCCB, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, the National Catholic Education Association, the Franciscan Action Network, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, among others.
Keywords: USCCB, U.S. bishops, The Catholic University of America, CUA, Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, Catholic Climate Covenant, Bishop Stephen Blaire, Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Bernard Unabali, Carteret Islands, climate refugees, Hurricane Sandy, Domestic Justice and Human Development
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