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Homily by Fr. Pat Browne on the Amazon fires

Imagine you go to the doctor because you are finding it difficult to breathe and he or she tells you; “you have lung cancer. You are rapidly dying. But we are not going to do anything.”  Wouldn’t you object, panic, kick up a stink, demand action?

The amazon rain forest has been called by Pope Francis the lungs of the world.  When it is healthy all of us will be healthier.

But the Amazon is burning!

This great forest, 55 million square kilometres, regulates the world’s climate, produces one third of the fresh water entering the oceans and is a living, breathing temple to diversity and beauty.

Many men and women have already fought and died to protect the trees, the creatures of the rainforest and the peoples who live there.

But there are those there who don’t care.  They are cutting down the trees and see  nothing but financial gain for themselves as they do this, regardless of the destruction it is causing.

Every single one of us has a moral duty to act and hold truth to power, to project the image of a destroyed rainforest to every corner of the earth and decry the forces that have brought us to this.

We cannot stand by and say it has nothing to do with me. I live in Pimlico. What has that to do with me?  If it goes the health of the whole world community suffers

“if the Amazon suffers, the world suffers.”

The Amazon needs us now, starting today, to kneel and pray for its protection and then to stand up and protest at its destruction. The forest relies on us to demand that justice is done.

The Catholic Church in particular has an immense influence in the whole Amazonian basin, and is in a position to extend a hand to politicians, local peoples and conservationists and together to square up to the powers that are destroying our planet. It must be done with urgency because the actual survival of the Amazon is at stake.

The G7 Leaders of the most powerful nations on earth are meeting this week in France.  Will they do anything about it?  Orl will each one insist on looking after their own short-term interests first, rather than work together to solve the problem. If they don’t address this problem, it will be a great moral failure on their part and begs the question,  of what use are they to the world community.

Meanwhile there are fires currently raging in Alaska, Siberia, Greenland, and the Canary Islands, as well. The problem is “of planetary proportions.”

Pope Francis, reminds us that God did not put us here to destroy or dominate the earth. We are here as Custodians of it; to keep it safe and well and healthy for the generations that will come after us.

Let us make this our special intention in this Mass today.

I wouldn’t allow a doctor to diagnose a life threatening illness for me and then say we are going to do nothing about it. Neither should we allow such an illness be diagnosed for our Mother, The Earth and decide to just stand by and watch its destruction.

Fr. Pat Browne, Pimlico Parish, London, 24 8 19