The Gaudete Miracle – Paris Summit on Climate Change

by Mary Deborah Carlin, SND on December 22, 2015

in Blogs

On Gaudete Sunday the world awoke to good news which people may call  a miracle.  Approximately two hundred individual nations listened to one another.  They mirrored ever so surely or tenuously (only time will tell) Pope Francis’ call to listen to one another.  The Paris Summit on Climate Change  “recognized that we are compelled to heed” the universal cry for help.  (Laudato Si 15)

This listening and consensus were lauded on the BBC web site as “historic.” Key elements of the agreement include:  real numbers; specific goals to be accomplished within a definite time frame; using Mother Nature as a gauge; setting specific rules of accountability and transparency, and most amazing of all, providing “climate finance.” According to this last provision, rich countries are to help poor ones to “adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy.” The poorest countries in the world have suffered the most from climate change.  Ironically, they are the least able to finance the necessary changes.  And it is imperative that they participate.  It is an “all in” scenario. Climate unites the human family.

Another remarkable aspect of the agreement is that it is visionary. The summit members look to the twenty-second century as a time to reach goals.  This both places hope in the future and trusts the next three generations to keep the plan moving in its proposed direction.

All these elements parallel the thoughts presented in Chapter three of LAUDATO SI.   After defining some of the “human roots” of our present crisis, Pope Francis assures the world that the very developments in technology and science of the past can help in correcting our present situation and impacting the future.  What is needed now is “a distinctive way of thinking, policies, an educational program, a lifestyle, and spirituality,” (LS 111) which together resist a solely technocratic paradigm.  Without this universal transformation of mind and heart, efforts to address isolated problems will prove futile.  Pope Francis reflects confidence in the sense of the people (LS 113).

Wisdom nudges the human families into realizing that the future holds little hope if we remain in the status quo.  The Spirit of God hovers over the world helping humankind to help ourselves.  With such vision and hope Christmas and the light and warmth it brings revives not only our spirits but the sense the world working together to preserve our common home is possible.

Notre Dame Sister Mary Deborah Carlin is retired from many years as a high school teacher and parish Religious Education Director.  She currently is ministering as a volunteer at Bethany Retreat Center in Chardon, OH.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Alice Dugar, SND December 22, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Deborah, your insight into the miracle of the Paris Summit is Wisdom alive today. — Thank you for inviting us all to live justly through your thoughtful reflection of Laudato Si and COP 21. Climate can cradle life once again if we do our part… each one listening to one another.


Donna Galetovich December 23, 2015 at 9:09 am

The Paris Summit is the living hope of our world family. The light that Christ has come to bring is shining in the wisdom of nations working together. Pope Francis is holding that light, brilliant and high for all to see and follow. Thank you for your insightful comments, Deborah.


Lisa Novak December 23, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Deborah, I love the thought: “The Spirit of God hovers over the world helping human kind to help ourselves.” How very right in so many aspects of our humanity. This is a very insightful summation of how our one world is coming together together for the good of all now and into the future.
A Merry Thanks to you!


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