Bishop and Actress Plea for Simple, Nature-Friendly Christmas

Quezon City. A Catholic bishop and a noted film actress have called on the faithful to mark the birth of the Redeemer with simplicity and a deeper appreciation of our common responsibility
to conserve and protect Mother Earth.

Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez and Chin-Chin Gutierrez, who is also an ardent Marian devotee, in a pre-Christmas statement released by the EcoWaste Coalition, called for a personal renewal of our duty to live in harmony with nature and to defend her against greed and wastefulness.

“As we celebrate Christmas, let us rejoice in simplicity and not allow ourselves to be drowned by crass consumerism that only overstates the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ in our society, and increases demand for non-essential goods that deplete our diminishing natural resources and warm the climate,” said Bishop Iñiguez.

“Amid the growing waste and climate crisis, let us be reminded that the first Christmas was beautifully celebrated with profound simplicity in a manger. The real essence of Christmas lies not in lavish consumption that eats up lots of resources and generates tons of waste, but on good deeds that we do for our fellow beings and the environment,” stated Bishop Iñiguez who also heads the Public Affairs Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

“As mentioned in Pope Benedict XVI’s ‘Encyclical Caritas in Veritate,’ we need to see the environment as God’s gift to all people and that we have a shared responsibility to care for all creation,” he added.

Chin-Chin Gutierrez of Alaga Lahat and the EcoWaste Coalition echoed what the Caloocan bishop said with her own call for lifestyle reforms, ecological responsibility and simplicity.

“We have contaminated our world, our climate and even the food we eat. We cannot continue believing our throw-away society has nothing to do with causing Ondoy. Neither should we think it will not happen again without a change in our wasteful attitude,” emphasized Gutierrez who has been cited by Time Magazine as one of Asia’s heroes.

“We need to make an honest assessment of our true needs and let go of what we excessively consume to eventually embrace a lifestyle that will allow everyone, including the future generations, to fulfill life on earth, our only home,” she added.

“Simplify! This Christmas let us realize that it is the simplicity of nature that brings true prosperity and abundance,” she further said.

Voluntary simplicity for Christmas, according to the EcoWaste Coalition, will be beneficial for Mother Earth, which has been crying for healing and rehabilitation from destructive practices and wastes that defile, damage and pollute her.

A more austere and faith-centered celebration of Christmas, the waste and pollution watchdog said, is most appropriate given that many families and communities have yet to fully recover from the onslaught of tragic disasters that have hit the country this year.