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CURRENT ISSUE:  March 7, 2011
VOL. 49, NO. 5   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Operation Rice Bowl becomes a staple of Lent
Big push to enroll more Latino students
Lenten sacrifice: Time to give up
plastic bags or incandescent bulbs?
Lenten viewpoints:
Sister Margie Lavonis, time for a spiritual checkup
Brother John M. Samaha, living as Christ taught

WASHINGTON — As Lent begins with Ash Wednesday March 9, Dan Misleh wants to remind Catholics that it is not just about giving up chocolate or ice cream for 40 days.

Instead, the executive director of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change would like to see Catholic families and individuals make some permanent sacrificial changes that will also contribute to a more sustainable and more just world.

CNS graphic/Emily Thompson
“The whole issue of climate change is about consumption and lifestyle,” said Misleh of the changes the Washington coalition would like to see implemented far beyond the Lenten period.

“Lent is the perfect time to examine our lifestyles,” he added. Even giving up a food item like chocolate or ice cream “reminds us that we do need to live more within our means, more in touch with people who don’t have any of these things,” Misleh said.

The coalition — which includes Catholic organizations representing the U.S. bishops, health care providers, teachers, men and women religious and a wide range of others — is promoting the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor, through which individuals, families and institutions promise to pray and learn about environmental issues, assess their own contributions to climate change, act to change their choices and advocate Catholic principles and priorities on climate change.

Pope Benedict XVI — dubbed the “green pope” for his support of environmental initiatives at the Vatican — has been critical of what he sees as a lack of worldwide commitment to mitigating climate change.

As a next step in that educational process, 24 newly trained “Catholic climate ambassadors” will begin making presentations to parishes or schools this spring, especially about “the need for solidarity with the poor, who are the ones most impacted by climate change,” Misleh said.

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