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VA Bishops sign US Catholic Climate Declaration

January 16, 2019 by Jeff Caruso

January 16, 2019                                                                            
Virginia Bishops Sign the US Catholic Climate Declaration
The declaration reinforces the Virginia Catholic community’s commitment to efforts that recognize and help reduce climate change.
(Richmond) —Today, Virginia Bishops Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington and Barry C. Knestout of Richmond signed the U.S. Catholic Climate Declaration, a document supporting the call to take prudent action to protect the global climate, which Pope Francis reminds us is “a common good, belonging to all and meant for all” (Laudato Si’, no. 23).   They join the list of more than 788 members of Catholic dioceses and institutions in over 40 states who agree to support climate goals to reduce emissions worldwide and avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change. The Declaration is an initiative promoted by the Catholic Climate Covenant.
In their 2015 Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship statement, the U.S. Catholic bishops note, “Care for Creation is a moral issue. Protecting the land, water, and air we share is a religious duty of stewardship and reflects our responsibility to born and unborn children, who are most vulnerable to environmental assault. We must answer the question that Pope Francis posed to the world: ‘What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?’ (Laudato Si’, no. 160).” 
The Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It calls for a reduction in emissions worldwide to avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change. The agreement has been signed by 195 UNFCCC members. Hundreds of organizations, now including the Catholic Diocese of Arlington and the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, have expressed support for the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.
About the Virginia Catholic Conference
In late 2004, Virginia’s Catholic bishops founded the Virginia Catholic Conference (VCC) to represent them and their dioceses of Arlington and Richmond by advocating for public policy that reflects natural law, advances human dignity and serves the common good. The Conference primarily addresses policy issues considered by the Virginia General Assembly and state agencies. In addition, the Conference supports the efforts of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which addresses federal policy issues considered by the U.S. Congress and executive branch in Washington, D.C. The VCC invites you to take action on legislation to protect human life and dignity, preserve the sanctity of marriage and religious liberty, put the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable first, and care for God’s creation. 
Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge is the Bishop of Arlington. Appointed by Pope Francis on October 4, 2016, as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, Bishop Burbidge was installed on December 6, 2016.
Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout is the Bishop of Richmond. Appointed by Pope Francis on December 5, 2017, as the 13th bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, Bishop Knestout was installed January 12, 2018.