Reclaiming Our Common Home

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labour.” Ask yourself this question: ‘if two are better than one, how can we come together to make a positive impact on the world?’

Reclaim Our Common Home is CAFOD’s new campaign is a response to Pope Francis’s call for a new way of thinking about the world, and to take an active part in renewing our troubled societies by embracing the universal values of solidarity and fraternity. Sign our petition to the prime minister

In 2020, we experienced the worst global health crisis in a century. The coronavirus pandemic has devastated lives and shattered families in Britain and across the world, with disastrous consequences for people’s jobs and livelihoods.

The pandemic exposed many of the inadequacies of how our world currently works. It has proved that we need greater cooperation between nations, solidarity between people and a greater focus on the poorest in society.

As Catholics, we are called not to stay silent and not to be passive. This is why Reclaim Our Common Home is a call to action! It’s a call to participate both individually and collectively in rebuilding a more dignified and sustainable world after the pandemic. Click here to find out more.

If you would like to receive regular updates about CAFOD’s campaigns, appeals and other ways you can support CAFOD’s work, click here.

Faith into action: Building a better world after the pandemic

On Saturday 14th November CAFOD’s online event Faith into action: Building a better world after the pandemic invited participants to reflect on what changes we want to see in our world after the coronavirus.

The day began with a reflection led by Sam Ewell – a practical theologian – on how the pandemic has affected us. Sam shared how the human vocation “to care for our common home” approaches the world not as a technical problem to be “fixed” but as a relational possibility to be shared; (an “ecology of relationships”). Through the creation of an ecological garden in proximity to HMP Birmingham with resettled prisoners Sam explained that becoming a disciple and a gardener require the same skills – to act with effect and attention to cultivate growth so we can be receptive. Sam ended by reflecting the centrality of a culture of care and the importance of living from this worldview.

Exploring the practical implications of how we can turn Pope Francis’s most recent call to action into a reality Liam Finn, CAFOD Campaigns Manager, shared how the image on the front cover of Fratelli tutti of St Francis of Assisi giving his coat to a passer-by on the road calls us to ask ourselves: how would the Good Samaritan live our lives?  Fratelli tutti reminds us that our neighbourhood family is global. How do we rebuild? Liam proposed the following:

  1. Create an open world and a heart open to the whole world
  2. Repurpose societies and institutions to serve the common good
  3. Build a better politics

In concluding his reflection, Liam outlined how to envision criteria for success – what would success look like? Quoting from Fratelli tutti we were called to reflect on the following: “How much love did I put into my work?” What did I do for the progress of our people?” What mark did I leave on the life of society?” (n 197). This provided the context for the afternoon sessions in putting into practice how we live out a world vision with Fratelli tutti as a lens in which to emulate the Gospel.

In the afternoon session we heard from overseas communities on how to build a better world from the crisis. Richard, who is responsible for integral ecology at The Archdiocese of Rennes, originally from Nigeria now living in France, reminded us of the act of solidarity and unity in Fratelli tutti. Richard shared that because of coronavirus in Nigeria many young people will have to repeat an academic year of schooling which will put them at a disadvantage with their peers. Richard also reminded us that the earth and the poor are crying at the same time and the importance of listening to both. We are an interdependent world and through what Richard termed ‘quadruple relations’ – relationship with self, others, nature and God we can find solutions. What can we do? Richard suggested the following action points:

  1. Create a personal creation covenant
  2. Engage in ecological education – find an informal way among peers
  3. To become an advocate for environmental and social justice issues
  4. Prayer: Prayers are important. Do not forget to pray – keep this act of solidarity in communion with God all the time.      

Our world view then moved to Colombia where we heard from Ingrid who is a member of the Atrato River Guardians, and from Fr Sterlin. The Guardians work to protect the river against pollution and degradation. Ingrid shared how being part of the Atrato River Guardians there have been changes in her community as they work towards recovering their water sources. Fr Sterlin also shared how the group have received technical training in ecology to protect flora and fauna. He also spoke briefly about his mission to continue working with other young people to engage them to see that they can also protect life and everything that surrounds us.                                                                                                                                                     Neil Thorns, CAFOD’s Director of Advocacy, brought into focus 2021 as the ‘super year’. Neil spoke about the importance of the UK as the President of COP26 (Conference of Parties) which will now be held in 2021. In December 2020, the High Climate Ambition Summit will create momentum around the importance of NDC’s (Nationally Determined Contributions) and how the NDC’s can push ambition across other countries. The UK will be chairing and hosting the G7 summit in June 2021 and the G20 occurring around September/October 2021 and finally COP26 in late 2021.    

 Concluding the day, Aisha Dodwell, Head of Campaigns, spoke about how to build a better world. Aisha presented some startling statistics – just 26 individuals own half of the planet’s wealth. 130 million people are facing hunger because of coronavirus. We were reminded of the need to come together as citizens of this country and as Catholics to usher in a more just and sustainable world. CAFOD’s campaigning will focus on the following key areas in 2021:

  1. Climate
  2. Debt justice
  3. Corporate accountability

For further information on CAFOD’s campaigns sign up via the following link: https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Latest-campaigns

     By Joanne O’Meara                                 

Send a Christmas message to the brave

Take a few moments this season to write a special Christmas card of encouragement to one of the many justice activists on the frontline in Congo, Palestine, Brazil, Honduras and Colombia.

The devastation of coronavirus has meant this year has been particularly tough for these brave people. Under lockdown, many have been exposed to increased threats, violence and intimidation as aggressors have exploited lockdown situations for their own gain.  

Click here to write your Christmas message

More than 300 human rights defenders were killed last year while fighting to protect their lands and nature, to halt the climate crisis or stand up for peace and human rights. Hundreds more were threatened or criminalised. 

This Advent, amid the busyness of the season and the waiting in joyful expectation, remember that they are waiting too – for justice and safety. In the face of threats, your card will help show them that they aren’t alone in their struggles but that they have a community of people in the UK who are all praying and standing with them. 

You are also invited to join us on Saturday 14th November for Faith In Action: Building a better world after the Pandemic. As the world looks at ways to recover and rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic, we must use this moment to ensure that the recovery tackles poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, and the climate emergency. Hear from practical theologian Sam Ewell as well as climate campaigners from across the world, join in discussions on how through campaigning with CAFOD you can help to turn Pope Francis’ most recent messages into a reality. 

For more information and to sign up, please see our website.