Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Fr Stephanus Budi Prayitno, former director of Caritas Indonesia, is trying to “raise awareness about the future impact of climate change and help Indonesians better cope with it.” To do this, he is promoting Pope Francis’ Laudato si’ encyclical via an online PowerPoint presentation that has found a wide audience among Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
An Indonesian translation of the papal document has existed since September, but it has not yet been widely circulated. For this reason, the Catholic priest decided to present its most important points in an easy to use format. So far, the feedback has been great, with many expressing their gratitude for such a topical issue as Francis’ integral ecology.
Fr Stephanus Budi Prayitno led Caritas Indonesia for more than 20 years. He quit this year because of heart problems. In light of his work, he has been aware of climate issues for quite some time, and how climate change can be especially bad for rural communities, farmers and fishermen, especially those living in remote areas, when they are affected by environmental disasters.
The clergyman became involved in campaigns to raise awareness about environmental problems long before Laudato si’ was published, but “No one would really listen to me,” he told AsiaNews. “Some colleagues in other organisations would poke fun at me, saying that harmful climate change was all in my mind.”
In his presentation, Fr Budi Prayitno begins with a message on how to prepare one’s heart and mind to receive Laudato si’.
This is followed by a definition of climate change and its impact on the nature, as well as a presentation of a theological perspective inspired by Genesis. A number of natural disasters that have affected Indonesia in recent years are used to illustrate the matter. The aim is to make people more aware of the problem’s real impact.
The presentation’s highlight is the encyclical’s core concept, namely the notion that the Earth is our "common home".
Using a simple but direct style in Bahasa Indonesia, Indonesia’s national language, the clergyman hopes to raise public awareness in both the general public and the authorities about the climate threats that hang over the country, and which can only get worse (see the current fire and haze crisis).