Australia's Catholic bishops have called for greater action to combat climate change, saying the world is facing an ecological crisis.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must be at the centre of caring for country, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said in its annual statement promoting social justice, released on Thursday.
"The rest of us need to listen, and to learn how we can walk together to care for the whole of creation - including one another," Bishop Vincent Long said.
Bishop Long acknowledged the world was facing a climate crisis, adding that Pope Francis wanted the church globally "to act with a greater sense of urgency".
"In Australia, passionate individuals, religious institutes, schools and organisations have been working on ecological issues for a long time," he said.
"I want to affirm and thank them all, and to urge the whole Catholic community to join them."
A report released by the bishops entitled "Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor" has highlighted the impact of recent bushfires, floods and droughts in Australia.
It said the transition to a low-carbon economy should take into account the impact on towns built upon industries such as mining.
"Rather than delaying a commitment to sustainable energy sources, concern for the future of communities that have been reliant on extractive industries should be built into the transition," it said.
In what is described as "an historic commitment to work towards a more sustainable church", the bishops identify seven goals across the next years.
They include adopting simple lifestyles, ecological education and spirituality, and community involvement and participatory action.
Catholics are invited to "uncover the sacramentality of creation ... and to respond with "wonder and awe".
"My hope is that (the report) will encourage ever deeper and more effective Christian responses to the urgent cries of the earth and of the poor," Bishop Long said.
Australian Associated Press
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