06/17/2015, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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The Filipino Church "will do everything" to highlight the encyclical on ecology

by Shafique Khokhar
Environmental activists and groups are currently working hard to pass on carefully the contents of ‘Laudato sii,’ which is set to be published tomorrow, 18 June. Members of the media have been invited to preparatory debates. A video message from Card Tagle will be aired "as soon as possible" to explain the papal message, especially to young people.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The Church in the Philippines is eagerly waiting for Pope Francis’ encyclical on ecology and the care for creation, and is gearing up to give it the maximum exposure possible.

Various Catholic groups, especially those involved in environmental issues, have agreed on a series of initiatives to ensure that the papal document is understood and disseminated as far and wide as possible.

According to Fr Michael Czerny SJ, a member of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, the Encyclical "will not get the desired result if Catholic groups and individuals are not ready to accept it and spread it."

Fr John Leydon, a Columban missionary, agrees. "The first 72 hours after publication are the most important. If if a momentum is built up fast, people will respond to the pope’s appeal.”

Ms Lou Semerino plans to tape a video message from Card Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, on the document. "We will make sure to put it on the air immediately after publication,” she said, “because we want to reach young people. They watch a lot of television, so it is through this channel that we can promote the message."

Similarly, the Global Climate Catholic Movement plans to meet and inform TV broadcasters about Laudato sii ("Blessed are You") on the care of the common home, so that they are prepared to  understand the depth of Francis’ message.

Filipino Catholics also plan to use mobile phones to spread the news. “We have a brigade to send text messages to stir people’s interests and raise their awareness about this emergency,” said Ms Lu Reyn, a climate change activist.

Pope Francis’ second encyclical will be published tomorrow, 18 June, with an embargo until noon (Italy Time: GMT+2:00). However, the document’s contents have already sparked intense debate among Catholics and in the rest of the world.

Card Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Metropolitan of Pergamon John Zizioulas, representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church; prof. John Schellnhuber, founder and director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; and Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services, will present the document.

Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered today for his weekly General Audience on the eve of the encyclical’s official release, Pope Francis said, “Tomorrow, as you know, the Encyclical on the care of the ‘common house’ that is creation will be published. Our ‘house’ is being ruined, and that hurts everyone, especially the poorest among us.”

“My appeal is, therefore, to responsibility, based on the task that God has given to man in creation: ‘to till and tend’ the ‘garden’ in which humanity has been placed (cf. Gen 2:15). I invite everyone to accept with open hearts this document, which places itself in the line of the Church's social doctrine.”

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