Bishop warns his flock not to sacrifice creation for oil revenue

 — Feb. 18, 200918 févr. 2009

In a pastoral letter to the faithful in his diocese, Roman Catholic Bishop Luc Bouchard of St. Paul in Alberta, Canada decried that “the integrity of creation in the Athabasca Oil Sands” – the largest reservoir of crude bitumen in the world and the largest of three major oil sands deposits in Alberta – “is clearly being sacrificed for economic gain.”

With oil price increases since 2003, commercial production of oil from the Athabasca oil sands has become increasingly attractive. However, the large quantities of water and energy consumed in the process are causing serious environmental concern.

“As the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Paul in north-eastern Alberta, it is my responsibility to provide moral advice and leadership on questions that affect the faithful who live in my diocese,” Bishop Bouchard wrote in his letter of 25 January. “It is therefore impossible for me to ignore the moral problem created by the proposed one hundred and fifty billion dollars oil sands developments in the Municipality of Wood Buffalo because these projects are in ‘my own backyard,’ and have aroused strong ethical criticism.”

Based on reports by scientists and environmentalists, the bishop warns that possible water shortages could threaten wildlife and indigenous communities. He adds that by 2011 then existing oil sands plants would burn enough natural gas to annually release an estimated 80 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere – more than the total amount produced by Canada’s passenger cars.

The letter, which contains a theological reflection, an assessment of the environmental impact of oil sand development and “An Action Plan to Safeguard Creation,” concludes with the hope that the diocese’s faithful raise the issue with their parliamentary representatives and in the workplace and “do whatever lies within [their] field of responsibility to safeguard the integrity of creation.”

Read the full text of the letter

Posted: Feb. 18, 2009 • Permanent link:
Categories: Documents, NewsIn this article: bishops, Canada, Catholic, climate change, ecology, environment
Transmis : 18 févr. 2009 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : Documents, NewsDans cet article : bishops, Canada, Catholic, climate change, ecology, environment

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