LIMA, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Catholic bishops attending a U.N. meeting on climate change in Peru have called for an end to the use of fossil fuels.
The group also urged Catholics to become involved in efforts to secure a new treaty on climate change. In a statement, they called for a "deepening of the discourse at the COP20 in Lima, to ensure concrete decisions are taken at COP21 to overcome the climate challenge and to set us on new sustainable pathways."
The statement from Peruvian bishops and their colleagues from other countries attending the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is the first by a group of Catholic prelates. Catholic leaders joined with those from other faiths to sponsor a seminar on the religious response to climate change.
At the seminar, Msgr. Salvador Pineiro, president of the Episcopal Conference of Peru, described how his own concern with the issue developed. Pineiro said that growing up in Lima he had little reason to worry about climate change, but when he became archbishop of Ayachucho in the Andes in southern Peru he heard from a poor potato farmer how his crop was being damaged.
But Father Sean McDonagh, writing in Independent Catholic News, said that Pineiro in his homily at a mass in LIma to honor COP 20 did not even refer to climate change.
"This was very disappointing, but it is where most people in the faith community are, so there is a huge challenge to convince them that the environment, God's creation, is important," McDonagh concluded.