After Cop26 Every Parish Needs a Climate Change Committee: Sean McDonagh

Nov 23, 2021 | 0 comments

Sean McDonagh SSC – Environmentalist

In the wake of Cop26 in November 2021 – which disappointed the most climate-threatened societies on Earth – the task of carbon reduction for Cop27 is even more urgent, according to one of Pope Francis’s own advisers for the papal encyclical Laudato Si’Fr Sean McDonagh.

Fr Sean is to address ACI members by Zoom in January 2022 – on a date to be arranged.

Ireland’s record on climate change is also in dire need of improvement, according to Fr Sean.  The island seems bent on maintaining methane-intensive animal farming at the expense of the plant-based emphasis that ecologists and human health experts now advise. Incredibly, Ireland also unnecessarily imports vast quantities of vegetables and fruit that could be home-grown.

In addition, according to the Columban expert, the Dublin government is promoting rather than limiting the tendency of hi-tech multinational firms such as Microsoft to expand the building of data centres in Ireland.  The latter – for the housing of computer servers for digital data storage –  provide few jobs but consume so much energy that Ireland’s power grid could be in danger of collapse, according to some reports.

Parish Climate Committees are needed, according to Fr Sean. Their remit could include the retrofitting of churches to make them less dependent upon fossil fuels for heating – e.g. by installing solar panels linked to the electricity grid on church roofs. Church lighting could also be funded in the same way, in theory.

What else could Fr Sean have in mind for parish climate committees? Might they also have a role in changing attitudes – to ‘consumerism’, for example, and the traditional rural Irish attachment to animal-intensive agriculture? What role should Laudato Si’ play in adult faith formation?

Tune in next January 2022 to ACI’s Zoom evening with Fr Sean to find out.

For Sean’s pdf article on Cop26, click here.

Make sure to watch this space for details of Fr Sean’s Zoom presentation – set for January 2022.


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ACI’s Campaign for Lumen Gentium 37

The Promise of Synodality

What we have experienced of synodality so far gives ACI real hope that a longstanding structural injustice in the church may at last be acknowledged and overcome.

As all Irish bishops well know, the 'co-responsibility' they urge lay people to share - as numbers and energies of clergy decline - has been sabotaged time and again by canonical rules that deny representational authority and continuity to parish pastoral councils.  ACI's 2019 call for the immediate honouring of Lumen Gentium Article 37 becomes more urgent by the day and is supported by the following documents - also presented to the ICBC in October 2019.

The Common Priesthood of the People of God and the Renewal of the Church
It was Catholic parents and victims of clerical abuse who taught Catholic Bishops to prioritise the safeguarding of children in the church

Jesus as Model for the Common Priesthood of the People of God
It was for challenging religious hypocrisy and injustice that Jesus was accused and crucified. He is therefore a model for the common priesthood of the laity and for the challenging of injustice - in society and within the church.

A Suggested Strategy for the Recovery of the Irish and Western Catholic Church
Recovery of the church depends upon acknowledgment of the indispensable role of the common priesthood of the lay people of God and the explicit abandonment by bishops and clergy of paternalism and clericalism - the expectation of deference from lay people rather than honesty and integrity.

For the full story of ACI's campaign for the honouring of Article 37 of Lumen Gentium, click here.


"Come Holy Spirit, Renew Your wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost. Grant to Your Church that, being of one mind and steadfast in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and following the lead of blessed Peter, it may advance the reign of our Divine Saviour, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen."

Saint Pope John XXIII, 1962 - In preparation for Vatican Council II, 1962-65.

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