In a powerful little booklet (pastoral letter) entitled, The Need for Conversion, the ‘Social Affairs Commission of the ‘Canadian confidence of Catholic Bishop’s’ challenged Canadians this March 2008 to take a hard realistic look at the way that we, as Canadians, are treating our planet. “Are we not like the prodigal son”, they ponder, “who asked his father for his inheritance and then left home and proceeded to waste it (Luke 15:11-32)?” Commenting on our excessive need for more and more, the Bishops observe that we are mismanaging the Garden of Eden: “In our drive to earn more, to possess more, to consume always more, we have sacrificed a great deal to the economic almighty, which has become like the substance of modern life. We have mismanaged the Garden of Eden entrusted to us.”
Stating that we have the knowledge and know-how to protect the environment, they compare our present attitudes and behaviors to those of selfish ‘spoiled children’. “We have yieled to the innate selfishness that marks each of us like a scar.” “We have tarnished the image of God that is within us.”
The letter is a personal and communal call to conversion, and a timely and forceful reminder to our elected representatives. The Bishops conclude, The Need for Conversion, by offering us a choice between death and life: “Our faith in Christ, offers us a radical choice: To choose between life and death (Deuteronomy 31:15). This could not be a timelier invitation. Only genuine conversion will help us mend the ruptures and re-establish our life relationship with nature, our sisters and brothers, and the Creator of Life. For this St. Francis of Assisi presents a beatuiful model of renewed humanity and rediscovered harmony.
The Full Pastoral Letter may be downloaded here.