DAR ES SALAAM, JULY 12,2022 (CISA)– The 20th Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) Plenary Assembly under the theme “Environmental Impact on Integral Human Development,” on July 11, entered day three of the meeting with a focus on the papal encyclical Laudato Si and a recollection of cardinals, archbishops and bishops at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
“We are here to take stock on how the Church of AMECEA has implemented the massage of the Laudato Si. Together with other people of other faiths and governments, this message has raised interest because climate knows no bounds,” said Rt Rev Charles Sampa Kasonde, Chairman of AMECEA and bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Solwezi, Zambia, in his opening remarks in the study session.
“We must respect the fundamental justice to the issues of the environment for it touches not only the present but also the future. We must not grow weary of this call; we will meet resistance as people wouldn’t easily change mindsets on issues to do with the environment. The Holy Spirit must guide us all to embrace the journey of caring for the environment for the effects of the environment affect everyone,” rallied the bishop chairman.
Bishop Kasonde observed that the 2022 AMECEA plenary was a follow-up to the 2019 meeting held in Kampala, Uganda, where environmental issues and climate change were also discussed. The Catholic bishops then in a report read by Rt Rev George Zumaire Lungu of the Catholic Diocese Chipata, Zambia, expounded on the gains and challenges faced in the implementation of the encyclical that was issued in 2015.
In the report, Bishop Lungu noted that Covid-19 has exposed social, cultural and political boundaries that humans have created because of a lack of fraternity and warned that the people need to tackle first their “human and social degradation,” to fully combat the environmental crisis.
“The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation. The deterioration of the environment and society affects the most vulnerable people on the planet; those directly affected by the problems raised must be at the heart of the meeting,” observed the prelate.
In concurrence, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples opined that meetings discussing the environment happen every so often, yet solutions set have little or no impact partly because most professionals, opinion makers, media and centres of power, are located in affluent areas, far removed from the poor, with little direct contact with their problems.
In quoting Pope Francis, the cardinal said,” “They live and reason from the comfortable position of a high level of development and quality of life well beyond the reach of the majority of the world’s population. Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor,” he said.
On July 12, President Samia Suluhu Hassan will address the assembly before the plenary at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre.