New Delhi (CBCI News) : A new book, titled Church and Sustainable Development was released on 24 October 2014, during the 26th Annual Conference of Association of Moral Theologians of India, at DVK, Dharmaram, Bangalore. The book was introduced by Rev Fr George Kodithottam, SJ, and was released by Rev Fr Clement Campos, President of Association of Moral Theologians of India. The event marks the culmination of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005 – 2014).
Compiled and edited by Rev Dr Charles Irudayam, Executive Secretary, CBCI Office for Justice, Peace and Development, the book contains articles, contributors of which are from both India and outside. The book, published by ATC, not only expounds biblical perspectives as well as the Catholic Church’s unique and distinctive perspectives on sustainable development but also advocates sustainable practises. The release of the book has special relevance for India where governments are engaged in an aggressive pursuit of development and growth at the cost of rapidly depleting the natural resources and harming human ecology.
In his foreword to the book, Bishop Gerald Almeida of Jabalpur, Chairperson of the CBCI Office for Justice, Peace and Development, writes that the book is a contribution of his Office to the cause of sustainable development. He also states that the book is “an evidence and manifestation of the Catholic Bishops’ firm stand and commitment to the same cause”.
It may be remembered that during their 31st Plenary Assembly in February 2014, the Catholic Bishops of India stated: “We stand for sustainable development of peoples and human ecology.” (Statement, 31st Plenary Assembly of CBCI, February 2014, no. 5.vii). In the preceding Plenary Assembly, too, the Bishops had stated: “We stand for the protection of the environment. We are stewards of God’s Creation and we must use our resources for the good of all, keeping in mind also our duty to future generations. Illegal mining, deforestation, some mega projects, pollution of water, air and land are destructive of ecology. We will resist such moves and encourage greater use of natural sources of energy, promote organic farming, encourage proper methods of waste management and other such initiatives.” (Statement, 30th Plenary Assembly of CBCI, February 2012, no. 8.8.)
Church’s teaching on environmental protection speaks of ecological vocation, which is best summed up by Pope Francis who says that “like Saint Francis of Assisi, all of us, as Christians, are called to watch over and protect the fragile world in which we live, and all its peoples” (Evangelii Gaudium, No. 216).
Rev Dr Charles Irudayam
CBCI Office of Justice, Peace and Development