07/07/2015, 00.00
PAKISTAN - PHILIPPINES
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Bishop of Hyderabad: the Pope's encyclical inspiration against environmental crisis

by Shafique Khokhar
Msgr. Samson Shukardin stresses the importance of "Laudato sì" in a country wreaked by a water crisis and victim of climate change. The prelate traces some guidelines that will animate the work of the diocese on nature and ecology. Pakistani priest in Manila helps humanity "to find God in all things."

Hyderabad (AsiaNews) - Msgr. Samson Shukardin, bishop of Hyderabad, in Sindh Pakistan, has set his diocese a set of priorities after reading and reflecting on the encyclical of Pope Francis "Laudato sì", dedicated to the environment and creation, our "common home". These include creating an ad hoc diocesan commission deals with ecology and the environment to promote green issues and knowledge of ecology, of creation and the environment among children, young people and within families; organizing seminars, workshops and special events.

Speaking to AsiaNews, the prelate points out that the words of Pope Francis "are a source of great inspiration" and come "at the right time" because the planet is experiencing "various environmental crisis". The effects of climate change, adds Msgr. Samson, "were very rapid," becoming the cause of "disasters and deaths around the world."

For the Pakistani bishop, whose nation recently recorded a severe heat wave that caused a thousand victims, exacerbated by severe water shortages, the words of the Pope recall "St. Francis love of nature". At the same time, as a Franciscan bishop, he confirms a greater "sensitivity" to green issues and "Mother Earth."

"The effects of global warming - he says - are very serious, and the poor are the ones who suffer most from the effects." This is why he hopes "small steps" such as saving water and energy, will help to "keep the environment clean" and strengthen "the love of nature and all its creatures." "We should promote this creation spirituality - concluded Msgr. Samson - and make the world a better place to live".

Fr. Bonnie Mendes, a priest from Faisalabad (Punjab), former Executive Secretary of the Justice and Peace (NCJP) and coordinator of Caritas Asia also spoke to AsiaNews on issues of environment and nature from his current location inthe Philippines.

The encyclical, says the priest, has "reached the front pages" in many countries in the world and social media are "full" of comments, although "not all positive." Some rich and privileged, he adds, have said they are not willing to change the way of life because of the words of a pope who will not affect "their policy".

For Fr. Bonnie Mendes this encyclical is "different", in style, length, and the many quotes in it. He  points out that it even contains the words of a Muslim Sufi mystic poet, Ali al Khawas. The Pope really wants "humanity encounters God in all things." As stated by Pope Francis, it is clear the need to "reduce the use of fossil fuels" and to improve "our way of life" and avoid "wasting food."

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