DECLARATION OF THE 11TH IMBISA PLENARY
22-26 November 2016
We, the Inter-regional Meeting of Bishops in Southern Africa, (IMBISA) in our 11th plenary meeting held in Maseru, Lesotho, considered thoroughly the theme “Empowering the laity for effective engagement in socio political and environmental issues: ‘Laudato Si’ as a point of reference.”
Having reflected on the major points of Pope Francis’ Encyclical on environment ‘Laudato Si’, we identified issues in our region relating to it. We analyzed the capacity and limitations of our Church and explored ways and means of implementing ‘Laudato Si’.
Planet earth, which is God’s gift and common home to all creatures, is gradually being destroyed by us human beings. We therefore welcome the invitation of the Pope to conversion, which means changing attitudes and behaviours that harm the earth, diminish human dignity, impoverish quality of life and create inequality in society.
We gave attention to those manifestations of environmental destruction that are of immediate concern in our region and conference areas. These include pollution of the environment, harmful byproducts in the production of some sources of energy, water pollution and wastage. The consequences frequently result in diseases, corruption, consumerism, unemployment and inequality.
We identified practical ways and means of informing ourselves and our lay people to adopt a caring and responsible attitude towards the gift of creation which includes a celebration of creation around the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
We mandate the secretariat and the staff of IMBISA to gather and disseminate information informed by ‘Laudato Si’ with suggested specific concrete targets to enhance the awareness and implementation of our goals, keeping in mind that there are presently programmes addressing some of these issues at conference levels. We recommend that each conference continues to address these issues.
We commit ourselves to the care of common home and we appeal to all women and men of goodwill to take the issue of environment seriously.