06/22/2015, 00.00
PAKISTAN – VATICAN
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Justice and Peace Commission is full of "joy and gratitude" for Pope Francis’ “green” encyclical

by Shafique Khokhar
Mgr Joseph Arshad, president of the Episcopal Commission, noted that the encyclical also comes to the defence of the "rights of the poor and the neediest people in the world." Pakistan’s Catholic community welcomes with an "open heart" the document and its reflections on the environment, justice and poverty. Hence, the prelate called for prayers for the environment and the conversion of lifestyles.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Church in Pakistan is full of "joy and gratitude" with regards to Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudate si’, said Mgr Joseph Arshad, president of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan.

For the bishop, "The Church in Pakistan welcomes with open heart Pope Francis’ encyclical,” with its focus on the environment, creation and "our common home” and on the "rights of the poor and the neediest people in the world."

Mgr Arshad noted in particular, “the steps taken by the Holy Father to defend the rights of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged” and his “reflections on the environment, justice and poverty”. This, he believes “will increase the importance of all of God’s creatures.”

The dangers and urgency that loom over our planet – our “common home” as the Argentine pope calls it – are explicitly highlighted in the encyclical. Indeed, "We all share the same risks, regardless of ethnicity, geography, religion and cultural identity,” the prelate said.

Hence, it is important to take all the steps that can "prevent catastrophic consequences" at a time of danger.

What is more, the papal document "is a call to unity", the NCJP president said, "unity in prayer for the environment, and the conversion of hearts and ways of life" so that every living thing on the planet can be respected.

In view of such serious problems in terms of ecology and environment, the Church "joins the Pope Francis’ voice" and is ready to marshal all of its resources, spiritual or otherwise, to "protect creation, our common home”.

Finally, the prelate noted the encyclical’s timely release, just ahead of UN climate conference scheduled for later this year in Paris, France.

"We are working for an agreement on climate change that can benefit all of humanity,” he said, because “Our common house belongs to everyone. Everyone has a responsibility, rich and poor, young and old, to take care of it.”

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