Catholic Action Austria calls for urgent conversion......but not to Jesus Christ

Catholic action on "World Creation Day": radical change needed

Catholic lay organisation appeals to responsible persons on the occasion of the worldwide World Day of Creation on 28 July: Away from "self-destructive dead end" and lifestyle at the expense of the future - Politics should no longer follow car lobbies

Catholic Action Austria (KAÖ) is convinced that this year's "World Creation Day" on 28 July requires a radical change. The leadership trio with President Ferdinand Kaineder and Vice-Presidents Katharina Renner and Brigitte Knell appealed in its dispatch on Wednesday to responsible persons in politics, but also in the Church: "Let us leave the self-destructive dead end. Let us go together into a kind of planetary diet." The lifestyle and economic style practised above all in the industrialised countries at the expense of the future must come to an end, the KAÖ leader demanded against the background of daily news with extreme weather and environmental catastrophes.

Experts use the "World Day of Creation" to calculate when the average theoretical land demand of humanity for urbanisation, food cultivation and industrial production, for example, will exceed the buffer capacities of the Earth. This is done by dividing the biocapacity - all the natural resources that the Earth creates in that year - by the ecological footprint and multiplying by 365. According to KAÖ, CO2 emissions, deforested areas, concreted-over nature or fish stocks that can no longer regenerate are taken into account.

Austria has already been living at the expense of the future since 6 April, the "President Team" pointed out: By then, all resources that were available from the Earth's point of view until the end of the year had been used up in this country. Quatar and Luxembourg had already been living beyond their means since February, countries like Jamaica, Ecuador or Indonesia - whose depletion day was in December - ensured that the global deadline would not be reached until the end of July. "Half of the year worldwide and three quarters of the year in Austria we live by extracting the resources of the future," KAÖ complained.

For 100/80/30 speed on roads

The official Catholic lay movement described road traffic as a particular "problem child": "Cars weighing tons often transport only one person from A to B with extremely poor energy efficiency and inordinate consumption of fossil fuels." Individual car traffic is responsible for one third of CO2 emissions. This must be counteracted through awareness raising, adequate infrastructure for cycling, public transport, attractive footpaths and political control. This is necessary, even though "we know that we are in the minority", as the KAÖ leader stated. The majority of the population still lives in "autofocus", which is fuelled by advertising and lifestyle media.

At its recent presidium, KAÖ unanimously endorsed the demand of the "Last Generation" for a speed reduction, the statement said. If the speed on motorways, country roads and in local areas were limited to 100/80/30 km/h, about a quarter of the fossil fuel consumption could be saved, KAÖ calculated. Politicians should no longer follow the car lobbies "who ridicule precisely this reduction or connote it with a loss of individual freedom". KAÖ directed this appeal "above all to the ÖVP and the FPÖ, some of whom deny this issue against all scientific findings and appeals".

"What we do as Church and KA"

The dispatch also informs about "what we do as Church and KA": The path of resource conservation and alternative forms of economy begun in 2015 with the Pope's encyclical "Laudato si" must be massively strengthened. Internal church recommendations must "lead to obligations", guidelines must be implemented more quickly. "If, for example, 10 per cent of parishes reduced their energy consumption by 20 per cent in 2017, then this is also possible for 100 per cent of parishes and also KA groupings," Kaineder, Renner and Knell are certain. The complete phase-out of fossil fuels should be completed, and church festivals and events should be held according to strict ecological guidelines.

The KAÖ leadership called for the "Creation Time" from 1 September to 4 October to be used for special measures of "turning back from the dead end". It is about a new sensitisation of the population towards a "responsible frugality, a thankful contemplation of the world and a special attentiveness towards the weakness of the poor and the fellow world". KAÖ advocates an ascetic way of life that is "not hostile to pleasure, but critical of consumption".

Pilgrimage "to become free"

KAÖ President Ferdinand Kaineder, who has been travelling all over Europe as a pilgrim on foot for many years, announced that from World Creation Day, 28 July, he would be walking for ten days on the "High and Holy" pilgrimage trail in East Tyrol. "I am once again setting out for a longer time to become free in my mind, to become one with body and soul, to become open to connections of meaning along the impressive nature," he announced. "To make a pilgrimage inwards over mountains and borders" speaks to a deep longing of people today, Kaineder explained.

KAÖ has published its own dossier on the topic of "Ecological conversion and co-environmental justice", which it and four others recently presented at meetings with party representatives.


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