Synodality will not have relevance for younger generations unless our ‘walking together’ addresses the issue that will soon have the greatest impact upon the lives of everyone.
This was Columban ecologist Sean McDonagh‘s stark warning to a Zoom gathering of over 160 on the evening of Thursday 27th January. You can view a recording of this event below.
Organised by ACI and supported by the ACP (Association of Catholic Priests), the event drew the largest attendance so far in ACI’s Zoomed series of Synodality discussions.
Resisting the tendency to look to clergy to lead the charge on climate awareness, Fr McDonagh argued that instead those with knowledge of and expertise in climate science and ecology should be invited into parish discussions, and even to give homilies that relate the Gospels to those concerns. Clergy generally do not have the necessary training.
Necessary adaptation such as the retrofitting of homes and the radical reduction of agricultural methane emission – and lifestyle change – will require local discussion and action – and so will practical issues such as the heating and lighting of church buildings. All of these matters are suitable for discussion in the very different church culture that synodality will oblige us to build at parish level.
This should also be an ecumenical effort, he insisted – because an effective response to the climate challenge will involve entire local communities.
For everyone the climate crisis will involve lifestyle change – called for by the Gospel also.