A missionary in the Philippines is urging people of the predominantly Catholic nation to protect the environment during the Christmas season. "We must think of ways to celebrate [Christmas] with less of a carbon footprint," said Irish Columban priest John Leydon, convener of the Global Catholic Climate Movement. "Christmas is the time of year when we see the worst aspects of consumerism," said the priest as he urged Catholics to "be more creative" in their celebrations but not be "harsh on Mother Earth." "We are living in a fact-free world where facts don’t matter anymore. It is a fact that we are destroying our own home," said Father Leydon. He said the Catholic Church has been always reminding people of the "sacred celebration of Christmas" that is not based on "consumerism and excessive waste." Recalling Pope Francis’ Christmas Eve homily last year, where he denounced a "hedonistic and consumerist society" that breeds a "culture of indifference," Fr. Leydon said the pope’s message still stands. "We must care for the environment because it is what Christmas means," said the priest.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo also reminded Filipino Catholics to "value the environment that provides for all the gifts that you are about to give to your love ones." On a more practical note, the prelate said one can be "nature-friendly" by recycling gift wrappers and biodegradable materials. He said the "renouncement of the throw-away culture reflects the real meaning of Christmas." "Celebrations must not focus on material things or on parties, but on the real essence of Christmas, which is the values of sharing and getting together as a family," said Bishop Pabillo.
Bishop Deogracias Iniguez of Kaloocan called for a "simple Christmas celebration." "Christmas is our merry celebration of the coming of our savior, so we must observe it according to his will," he said, adding that "God’s will is orderliness." (Source: UCAN)