Addressing the 77nd session of the UN General Assembly, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, said: “Christian Churches celebrate together on September 1 the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, to heighten public awareness of their shared responsibility to take care of our common home and to contribute to reversing environmental degradation. This call for responsible stewardship finds particular urgency before the deteriorating conditions of our common home and an often purely utilitarian world view concerning the things that surround us.

“Any harm done to the environment is harm done to humanity, of today and tomorrow. Thus, the misuse and destruction of the environment are also accompanied by a relentless process of exclusion, as the deterioration of the planet affects, first and foremost, the many billions imprisoned in poverty and in conditions of environmental stress across the globe. Improving climate conditions and the natural environment is possible only if we accept the need to change the way we perceive the world and if we change the way we relate to it.”

Evangelisation obstacles in Japan

At a meeting in Tokyo with Japanese bishops, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, said: “One of the major ob­sta­cles to the propagation of faith in Japan seems to be the false identification between Christianity and European culture.” He added that in the age of globalisation, reduced borders and facilitated travel, one cannot think of preventing or limiting “the presence of non-Japanese missionaries”. At the same time, “there is need to focus on a stronger, more engaged evangelisation of the same Japanese: bishops, priests, religious men and women, lay people, families and associations. Missionaries can integrate, but not replace.”

Call for calm in Kenya

Faced by rising political temperatures in his country, Kenyan cardinal John Njue has appealed to politicians to use dialogue to calm the country. Tensions based on ethnic lines rose after the Supreme Court declared the September 1 presidential election as null and void. The election was won by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has moved the next election date to October 26 after initially settling for October 17.

Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi, urged politicians to engage in talks and restrain their supporters ahead of the vote. He warned the hardline stances taken by the politicians would further divide the country, which went through a deadly post-election period between December 2007 and February 2008.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)