Media CenterCRS and Catholic Bishops Call on Administration to Address Climate Change

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Michael Hill
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]


WASHINGTON, DC, February 18, 2017  Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is joining a chorus of Catholic voices calling on the Trump administration to continue the Unites States’ leadership role in addressing the crucial issue of climate change.

“Sadly, environmental issues can be politicized for partisan agendas and used in public discourse to serve different economic, social, political and ideological interests,” states a letter sent by CRS and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. “By presenting the care for creation from an ethical and moral standpoint, the Pope has invited all to rise above these unhelpful divisions. We have one common home, and we must protect it.”

The letter was signed by Sean Callahan, CRS’ president & CEO, along with Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, who is chair of the Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace.

It urges Secretary Tillerson to reaffirm U.S. support for the Green Climate Fund that helps developing nations adapt to climate change, and for the 2015 Paris Agreement that set goals for reducing emissions harmful to our climate.

Through Catholics Confront Global Poverty, CRS’ flagship grassroots campaign, CRS is also supporting a petition initiated by the Catholic Climate Covenant and supported by over a dozen Catholic organizations. The petition asks President Trump to back the Green Climate Fund and Paris agreements: it also asks President Trump to “Support job creation and economic opportunity by encouraging states to craft plans to reach and exceed their Clean Power Plan carbon reduction goals by transitioning to renewable energy sources like wind and solar power and enacting energy efficiency and conservation standards.”

In the letter to Secretary Tillerson, CRS and the bishops note that in his encyclical letter Laudado Si’, Pope Francis recognized that climate change is a complex issue and that there are different ways of tackling its causes.

“This nuanced understanding of climate change, which you [Secretary Tillerson] appear to share, creates space for reasonable people to recognize, without controversy, that the climate is changing and highlights the importance of adaptation in response,” the letter reads. “Adaptation policy is fundamentally concerned with helping God’s creatures and all human beings, especially those who are poor, to adapt to the effects of climate change, regardless of the causes.”  CRS has been on the frontlines of helping vulnerable communities around the world adapt to the increasing challenges they face due to climate change.

While CRS took these actions on behalf of the poor overseas, 125 U.S. Catholic leaders signed a letter organized by the Catholic Climate Covenant in support of the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) effort to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. 

Read the full text of the letter sent to Secretary Tillerson.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit or and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief@CRSnewsYouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

Michael Hill

Senior Writer

Michael Hill
February 18, 2017

Based in Baltimore, MD

As Senior Writer, Michael is responsible for much of the editorial production of the Communications Unit: press releases, op-eds, speeches, etc. He also is a supervisor in the department overseeing the work of three communications staff in Asia, Africa and the United States.

Before joining CRS is 2008, Michael had a 35-year career at the...More