Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Pope Francis addresses Vatican conference on human right to water

Pope Francis spoke to participants in a Vatican conference on the human right to water, organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences - RV

Pope Francis said the questions concerning the right to water are not marginal, but basic and pressing.  Basic, because where there is water there is life, and pressing, because our common home needs to be protected.

Yet we must also realise, he said, that not all water is life-giving, but only water that is safe and of good quality. The right to safe drinking water, he insisted, is a basic human right which cries out for practical solutions and needs to be given the central place it deserves in the framework of public policy. 

Our right to water, the Pope continued, gives rise to an inseparable duty. Every state, he said, is called to implement, also through juridical instruments, the Resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly since 2010 concerning the human right to a secure supply of drinking water. Similarly, non-state actors are required to assume their own responsibilities with respect to this right which is so decisive for the future of humanity.  

Noting that every day a thousand children die from water-related illnesses and millions of people consume polluted water, the Pope said we must give high priority to educating future generations about the gravity of the situation. 

We cannot be indifferent to these facts, he said, but rather we must work to develop a culture of care and encounter, in order to make our common home a more liveable and fraternal place, where none are excluded, but all are able to live and grow in dignity.

Please find below the official English translation of the Pope’s address:

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to Conference on the Human Right to Water

Pontifical Academy of Sciences

23 February 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Good afternoon!  I greet all of you and I thank you for taking part in this meeting concerned with the human right to water and the need for suitable public policies in this regard.  It is significant that you have gathered to pool your knowledge and resources in order to respond to this urgent need of today’s men and women.

The Book of Genesis tells us that water was there in the beginning (cf. Gen 1:2); in the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, it is “useful, chaste and humble” (cf. Canticle of the Creatures).  The questions that you are discussing are not marginal, but basic and pressing.  Basic, because where there is water there is life, making it possible for societies to arise and advance.  Pressing, because our common home needs to be protected.  Yet it must also be realized that not all water is life-giving, but only water that is safe and of good quality.

All people have a right to safe drinking water.  This is a basic human right and a central issue in today’s world (cf. Laudato Si’, 30; Caritas in Veritate, 27).  This is a problem that affects everyone and is a source of great suffering in our common home.  It also cries out for practical solutions capable of surmounting the selfish concerns that prevent everyone from exercising this fundamental right.  Water needs to be given the central place it deserves in the framework of public policy.  Our right to water is also a duty to water.  Our right to water gives rise to an inseparable duty.  We are obliged to proclaim this essential human right and to defend it – as we have done – but we also need to work concretely to bring about political and juridical commitments in this regard.  Every state is called to implement, also through juridical instruments, the Resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly since 2010 concerning the human right to a secure supply of drinking water.  Similarly, non-state actors are required to assume their own responsibilities with respect to this right.

The right to water is essential for the survival of persons (cf. Laudato Si’, 30) and decisive for the future of humanity.  High priority needs to be given to educating future generations about the gravity of the situation.  Forming consciences is a demanding task, one requiring conviction and dedication.

The statistics provided by the United Nations are troubling, nor can they leave us indifferent.  Each day a thousand children die from water-related illnesses and millions of persons consume polluted water.  These facts are serious; we have to halt and reverse this situation.  It is not too late, but it is urgent to realize the need and essential value of water for the good of mankind.

Respect for water is a condition for the exercise of the other human rights (cf. ibid., 30).  If we consider this right fundamental, we will be laying the foundations for the protection of other rights.  But if we neglect this basic right, how will we be able to protect and defend other rights?  Our commitment to give water its proper place calls for developing a culture of care (cf. ibid., 231) and encounter, joining in common cause all the necessary efforts made by scientists and business people, government leaders and politicians.  We need to unite our voices in a single cause; then it will no longer be a case of hearing individual or isolated voices, but rather the plea of our brothers and sisters echoed in our own, and the cry of the earth for respect and responsible sharing in a treasure belonging to all.  In this culture of encounter, it is essential that each state act as a guarantor of universal access to safe and clean water. 

God the Creator does not abandon us in our efforts to provide access to clean drinking water to each and to all.  It is my hope that this Conference will help strengthen your convictions and that you will leave in the certainty that your work is necessary and of paramount importance so that others can live.  With the “little” we have, we will be helping to make our common home a more liveable and fraternal place, where none are rejected or excluded, but all enjoy the goods needed to live and to grow in dignity. 

Thank you.

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Pope Francis has announced that Christmas this year will be a “charade” –

Posted by truther on November 27, 2015,

In a solemn sermon at the Vatican, Pope Francis has announced that Christmas this year will be a “charade” due to the fact that the globe is currently engaging in World War 3. 

Via| Speaking at Mass at the Casa Santa Maria, the Pope said: We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war.

It’s all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war, he said grimly.

“A war can be justified, so to speak, with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war, piecemeal though that war may be – a little here, a little there – there is no justification.”

The sermon cast a serious note on the beginning of the festive season at the Vatican where a giant Christmas tree was unveiled – set to be decorated by December 8 – the start of the the Vatican’s Holy Year.

Pope Francis also spoke of the “innocent victims” of war and also condemned arms dealers for their role in world conflicts.

“What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now?” he asked. What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims, and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers.

“We should ask for the grace to weep for this world, which does not recognize the path to peace,” he said. To weep for those who live for war and have the cynicism to deny it,” he added. “God weeps, Jesus weeps”.

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reuters Exclusive: In clash with pope’s climate call, U.S. Church leases drilling rights

https://i1.wp.com/graphics.thomsonreuters.com/15/09/POPE-USA-DRILLING.jpg

Casting the fight against climate change as an urgent moral duty, Pope Francis in June urged the world to phase out highly-polluting fossil fuels.

Yet in the heart of U.S. oil country several dioceses and other Catholic institutions are leasing out drilling rights to oil and gas companies to bolster their finances, Reuters has found.

And in one archdiocese — Oklahoma City — Church officials have signed three new oil and gas leases since Francis’s missive on the environment, leasing documents show.

On Francis’ first visit to the United States this week, the business dealings suggest that some leaders of the U.S. Catholic Church are practicing a different approach to the environment than the pontiff is preaching.

Catholic institutions are not forbidden from dealing with or investing in the energy industry. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) guidelines on ethical investing warn Catholics and Catholic institutions against investing in companies related to abortion, contraception, pornography, tobacco, and war, but do not suggest avoiding energy stocks, and do not address the ownership of energy production interests.

A Reuters review of county documents found 235 oil and gas leasing deals signed by Catholic Church authorities in Texas and Oklahoma with energy and land firms since 2010, covering 56 counties across the two states. None of the Texas leases in the review were signed after the pope’s encyclical.

Those two states have been at the forefront of a boom in U.S. energy production in recent years, often through the controversial hydraulic fracturing production method, known as fracking.

It was not clear whether production on the Church leases was through fracking – a process that involves injecting sand, water and chemicals underground to crack open rock formations — or more conventional drilling methods.

The Church authorities receive a royalty ranging from 15 to 25 percent of the value of what is taken out of the ground, according to the leases, which are public documents filed with county clerk offices. Reuters’ search method did not capture leases signed before 2010 but which may still be in force.

(Click here for a graphic: reut.rs/1JcaVcB)

“There may be some kind of inconsistency here between what the pope has said and what the Church is doing in U.S. oil and gas country,” said Mickey Thompson, a consultant and former director of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.

He added that since the Church often acquires its mineral rights through donations from parishioners, there could be “legal or fiduciary reasons” it has sought to lease them out. It was unclear if that was the case with the leases signed by Church institutions in Texas and Oklahoma, including the three leases signed in Oklahoma since June.

A USCCB official and a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma City archdiocese both declined to comment.

The Vatican does not have direct power over investment decisions taken by dioceses in the United States, a responsibility reserved for their bishops.

Members of the U.S. Catholic hierarchy have fallen out of line with papal administrations before. Last year, for example, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke was moved out of a senior post in the Vatican after clashing with Francis’ more liberal views on homosexuality and Catholic re-marriage.

MORAL DISSONANCE

A Reuters examination of financial disclosures by U.S. Catholic institutions in August found that they have millions of dollars invested in energy companies, from hydraulic fracturing to oil sands producers. One U.S. archdiocese, Chicago, told Reuters it planned to review its energy shareholdings in light of the pope’s June message.

But the Church’s direct links to the fossil fuels industry through the Oklahoma and Texas lease deals highlight a potentially deeper moral dissonance in the wake of the pope’s unambiguous attack on human-caused climate change.

Francis makes his first visit to the United States from Tuesday through Sept. 27 with stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.

In Texas, dioceses that granted oil leases in recent years included Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio.

Pat Svacina, a spokesman for the Diocese of Forth Worth, said the diocese received $31,661 from its leases in fiscal year 2015. He declined to say whether the diocese was considering reviewing its oil and gas leasing program in light of the pope’s encyclical.

“The way the leases are written it is very difficult to cancel a lease that is in production,” Svacina said. “The Diocese always reviews the viability and desirability of renewing a lease at the conclusion of a current lease,” he added, without elaborating.

In Oklahoma, about one quarter of the roughly 165 Church lease deals signed since 2010 were granted by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, with most of the rest granted by the Catholic Foundation of Oklahoma and the St. Gregory’s Catholic University of Oklahoma.

DONATED RIGHTS

Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley signed the most recent deal on Sept. 3, giving privately held oil company Comanche Resources rights to operate on 160 acres in Major County in exchange for 18.75 percent of the value of the oil and gas produced.

The two-year extendable lease also permits Comanche to lay pipes, build storage tanks, power stations, and other installations. (Click here to see the lease: (reut.rs/1F9DdcM)

Coakley signed similar deals with energy companies Continental Resources and Lance Ruffell Oil in July and August, with royalties of 25 and 20 percent respectively.

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese declined to comment, and efforts to reach Coakley were not successful. The spokeswoman also declined comment on behalf of the Catholic Foundation, where Coakley serves as chairman.

An official at St. Gregory’s said the university had been given significant mineral rights by donors, adding that the royalties collected had averaged about $405,000 over the past three years, or 3.7 percent of revenue. The official asked not to be identified.

While the Church provides little data on its finances, information from other Catholic institutions in Oklahoma and Texas showed oil and gas royalties yielded a small portion of overall revenue in recent years, partly reflecting a slide in energy prices.

A review of audited statements issued by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City between 2010 and 2013 showed that the oil and gas royalties made up 2 percent of total revenue, or $1.6 million, over that period. That share peaked in 2012 at 5 percent, or $704,399, according to the audited statements. The other Oklahoma institutions did not provide data.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Jordan McMurrough, said the archdiocese had been collecting small energy royalties on its mineral rights since the 1950s, but that they currently make up less than 1 percent of revenue.

“The archdiocese currently does not plan changes to its long-standing practice of granting oil and gas leases,” he said, adding that Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller “is well aware of and deeply respects” Pope Francis’ encyclical.

He said one-third of the archdiocese’s mineral rights were donated, with the rest “by acquisition for church purposes over the years.”

Officials at the other dioceses in Texas did not respond to requests for comment.

Other companies that have signed energy leasing deals with the Church in recent years include Apache Corp, Cabot, Chesapeake, Devon Energy, and Range Resources.

All have been active in a fracking boom over the past several years.

A spokeswoman for Apache Corp confirmed the company has “a very limited” number of leases with the Church, but declined to comment further. The other firms did not respond to requests for comment.

Fracking has led to a surge in U.S. production by making new reserves available to the industry, and contributed to the slump in world energy prices. But the drilling boom has raised worries about pollution, climate change, and potentially damaging earthquakes from wastewater injection — fears that the oil industry says are overblown.

The American Petroleum Institute has said technological advances and efficient regulation have allowed drillers to raise production without contaminating water supplies or increasing emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/22/us-pope-usa-drilling-idUSKCN0RM0AY20150922