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Archbishop: Laudato Si an ‘urgent, spiritual call’ to all people [Video]

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Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr, right, speaks during a press conference concerning the encyclical Laudato Si. From left are the other scheduled speakers; Franciscan Father Al Hirt, Joanne Gerson, Jeff Bohrer, Dan Misleh and Archbishop Schnurr. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)
Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr, right, speaks during a press conference concerning the encyclical Laudato Si. From left are the other scheduled speakers; Franciscan Father Al Hirt, Joanne Gerson, Jeff Bohrer, Dan Misleh and Archbishop Schnurr. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

Staff Report

Responding to the call of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr hosted a press conference Wednesday in the former school building at St. Monica-St. George in University Heights.

The archbishop outlined how parishes and offices throughout the archdiocese are putting Pope Francis’s groundbreaking encyclical on the environment and climate change into practice.

Archbishop Schnurr, along with other local and national catholic leaders, highlighted efforts to reduce their archdiocese’s carbon footprint, striving to reduce energy costs through conservation measures and by exploring how to integrate more renewable energy sources throughout its 19 counties. Representatives from more than 30 organizations, including hospitals, religious congregations, businesses, educational institutions and non-profits, came out to support the message.

With the influence of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, Archbishop Schnurr said the archdiocese is trying to lead by example.

“The Holy Father’s message is an urgent, spiritual call addressed to ‘every person living on this planet’ to better care for our common home, the Earth, and all of us can do something to ensure this planet remains as God intended,” Archbishop Schnurr said. “We are calling on all residents to use less and save energy more. We are also asking local utilities and businesses to prioritize programs for energy efficiency and use fewer fossil fuels in energy production and economic activities. And we are calling on policymakers at all levels to prioritize care for creation in their considerations.”

The archbishop said that can include more energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives from the state as well as a program of national carbon standards, which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops supports. He encouraged leaders to engage in a robust and healthy debate about how we go about establishing effective policies, but still act to guide market forces and individual actions towards the common good.

Jeff Bohrer, Director of Property Management and Real Estate for the Archdiocese, detailed how the archdiocese has saved energy and utility expenses in the operation of its own properties.

Other national leaders, like Dan Misleh, Executive Director of Catholic Climate Covenant, expressed similar sentiments and urged broad action by American Catholics to get our leaders to support clean energy and climate policies.

“We must act boldly by example and must engage fully in the public square to remind policymakers that the common good should be at the forefront of their concerns,” Misleh said. “For Catholics and others of faith, economic and political decisions always have moral consequences, including those within the energy sector.”

At least three secular area television stations, one radio station and The Catholic Telegraph covered the event with the archbishop making himself available for questions after prepared remarks.

Besides the archbishop, Misleh and Bohrer, the press and others gathered heard from St. Monica-St. George pastor Franciscan Father Al Hirt and local homeowner Joanne Gerson of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance.

The following organizations were also present with representatives available to speak with the press: Century Mechanical Solutions, Chameleon Architecture, Chatfield College, Cincinnati Jesuit Community, Congregation of Divine Providence, Congregation of St. Joseph, Energy Optimizers USA, Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, Hamilton County Environmental Services, Innovative Lighting Solutions LLC, Marianist Environmental Education Center, Melink Coporation, Mercy Neighborhood Ministries, Mercy Health Partners, Midwest Native Plan Society, Ohio Interfaith Power and Light, SC Ministry Foundation, Sisters of Charity office of Peace, Justice, and Care for Creation, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Ohio province, The AMOS Project, University of Dayton, Ursulines of Brown County, Van Martin Roofing, Wright State University Catholic Campus Ministry and Xavier University.

Posted August 6, 2015

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati contributed to this report.

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