SCOTTISH CARDINAL CALLS CATHOLICS ON SIMPLE LIVING
“We must learn to live simply. By living simply we will do
all that our Easter faith demands of us. We will serve our neighbor
in the name of love and justice; we will serve our planet in the
name of all generations to come.”
Cardinal Keith O’Brien of St. Andrews and Edinburgh and President
of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland made this appeal to
Catholics during his April 8 Easter homily.
Cardinal O’Brien said that Jesus taught us very clearly what
it is to be a master. It is to be a servant. Far from understanding
Genesis as permission to take what we like from the earth, we must
consider ourselves to be at the service of the earth, every bit
as much as we are at the service of our neighbor. Noting the urgency
to “cooperate with God in the preservation and nurture of
the earth,” Cardinal O’Brien said that Catholics are
called to witness to the Resurrection by living fully and responsibly.
The Cardinal added with so much attention focused on global warming,
climate change is not the only environmental crisis faced.
“We are mistaken if we consider climate change to be the only
problem, imagining that if we fly less or burn less fuel or plant
more trees somehow the environmental damage will be corrected. Catholics
must take the whole picture into account when we consider the damage
being done to our mother earth.”
Pointing on the Scotland’s global footprint released last
week which examined the impact of the nation’s use of natural
resources and reported that the rate of consumption there would
require three earths to sustain it, the Cardinal commented that
we take and use much more than we share and we cannot maintain this
any longer. According to him species are becoming extinct at “an
alarming rate” and rain forests, “fast disappearing,”
are half of what they used to be when he was ordained as a bishop.
“I cannot help but wonder as I go round schools what will
happen to those remaining forests during the lifetime of the children
I meet there. So full of vitality and wonder as they consistently
are, so trusting of us to make the right choices on their behalf.
We fail those children in the way we destroy the land,” the
Cardinal O’Brien further stated that overfishing means we
now pay a great environmental price. Stocks of many of the fish
we have taken for granted and which have been plentiful are now
critically low. The majestic whale is at risk as are many other
species of ocean life.
“Learning to live simply will ask a great deal of us, and
we will need help along the way,” the cardinal said. He said
that he has called upon the St. Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocese
justice and peace group to examine what needs to be done to help
the church community to do a better job of meeting its environmental
In conclusion the cardinal revisited the scene at the resurrection
and said that the days gospel ends where we must begin that that
is in the Easter garden encountering the risen Lord. We must weep
like Mary, who mourned the loss of her beloved Lord, and we must
weep like Jesus who saw what had become of his beloved Jerusalem.
We weep because we see what has become of this creation that so
delighted God in the beginning. Yet weeping must give way to action
once more to honor creation and to serve the creator through the
The cardinal finally stressed that mission to Catholics is to live
simply. He prayed “ This Easter, may we each hear our name,
hear our call to be servants of the poor and servants of the earth,
and may we all receive the grace to live simply.”