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What the Catholic Church is Saying about Simplicity

Catholic Church


Protecting All of Creation

Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!

– Pope Francis

The vocation of being a "protector", however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live.

– Pope Francis


The Ethical Dimensions of Caring for the Environment

“American Catholics…are learning more, caring more, and doing more about the environment and threats to it. As a community of faith, we are also seeking to understand more clearly the ethical and religious dimensions of this challenge.”

– U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Renewing the Earth


Lent is a Time to Rediscover Compassion and Care

“Fasting is an aid to open our eyes to the situation in which so many of our brothers and sisters live... By freely embracing an act of self-denial for the sake of another, we make a statement that our brother or sister in need is not a stranger... This practice needs to be rediscovered and encouraged again in our day, especially during the liturgical season of Lent.”

– Pope Benedict XVI


Beware of Excessive Consumption

“Changes in lifestyle based on traditional moral virtues can ease the way to a sustainable and equitable world economy in which sacrifice will no longer be an unpopular concept. For many of us, a life less focused on material gain may remind us that we are more than what we have.”

 – U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops


Consider the Way You Treat the Natural World

“Grateful for the gift of creation... we invite Catholics and men and women of good will in every walk of life to consider with us the moral issues raised by the environmental crisis... These are matters of powerful urgency and major consequence. They constitute an exceptional call to conversion. As individuals, as institutions, as a people, we need a change of heart to preserve and protect the planet for our children and for generations yet unborn.”

– U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Renewing the Earth


New Lifestyles are Required

“It is becoming more and more evident that the issue of environmental degradation challenges us to examine our life-style and the prevailing models of consumption and production, which are often unsustainable from a social, environmental and even economic point of view. We can no longer do without a real change of outlook which will result in new life-styles.

– Pope Benedict XVI, 2010 World Day of Peace Message

Imagine if the Earth were divided equally among all of us. Each person would receive 4.5 acres. Now imagine that everything you need – food, energy, home, clothing, gadgets – must come from those 4.5 acres. But it takes 22.3 acres to maintain the average American lifestyle.There is a new way of observing Lent that helps us care for God’s creation by taking steps toward using only our fair share of its resources. Moving in the direction of 4.5 is essential for anyone walking in the footsteps of Jesus today.

Our Ministry

Lent 4.5 is a seven-week faith formation program which inspires and informs Christian communities on how to use the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to protect God’s creation, embrace Gospel justice and nurture spiritual fulfillment. It offers practical opportunities for people of faith to apply the values of Christian Simplicity to their everyday lives.

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