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‘New twist on Lent’ – Do A Carbon Fast

From the California Catholic Daily:

(Click to enlarge)

“New twist on Lent”

California’s bishops suggest: “Reduce your carbon footprint”

Published: February 16, 2010

In its latest Public Policy Insights newsletter, emailed to subscribers on Feb. 12, the Catholic Legislative Network is recommending a new way to observe Lent, which begins tomorrow. The newsletter is produced by the California Catholic Conference, the lobbying arm of the state’s bishops.

“As the Lenten season arrives, the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change has provided Catholics, schools and organizations with more tools and resources for its annual Catholic Climate Covenant,” says the newsletter. “The Coalition was formed three and a half years ago to help implement the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) 2001 initiative ‘Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good.’ Launched last year, the Covenant revolves around the St. Francis Pledge, which correlates five key actions — pray, learn, assess, act and advocate — to the issues of the environment and poverty.”

According to the newsletter, “the Archdiocese of Washington’s Environmental Outreach Committee has created a particularly useful new tool: a calendar that lists 40 carbon-fasting measures individuals can take to reduce their carbon footprint.” The newsletter provides a link to the full calendar.

The calendar contains suggestion for each of the 40 days of Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, with “Remove one light bulb from your home and live without the light for the next 40 days.” Other suggestions include, “Turn down your thermostat by at least one degree;” “Check windows and doors for a draft…” “Making travel plans? Consider getting there without flying;” “Check the tire pressure of your car today;” “Learn about mountaintop removal mining;” “Show reverence for life and for the Earth today by obeying the speed limit…”

The bishops’ newsletter cited Daniel Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, as saying the calendar is "another way to care for creation and aid the poor… it’s challenging, asks for sacrifices and to be more mindful of patterns of consumption. It’s a new twist on Lent."

Holy carp! Is nothing sacred?

This isn’t your father’s Catholicism.

To view the ‘Carbon Fast Calendar’ (a pdf file) click here.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, February 17th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

26 Responses to “‘New twist on Lent’ – Do A Carbon Fast”

  1. joeblough says:

    I think that the originators of this genius idea should swear off all food and drink that contains carbon for the entire period of Lent.

    I don’t think I really need to say this, but I can’t restrain myself. Importing pagan idiocies into traditional sacraments like Lent is criminally stupid.

  2. sbaxter says:

    I will give up farting. Serious carbon footprint reduction.

  3. wirenut says:

    As a “retired” Catholic since 1979, I found that (Higher) education gave way to political correctness. The strange thing is it happened on our collage campuses first. Strange indeed. How a faith that put so much into education and thought, has been ransacked by radicals, is beyond me. Before my retirement, I welcomed and leaned on the traditions of the past faith. Now, it’s a place for would-be folk artists strumming a six string, and any thing goes.
    Kind’a like our constitution is now. I’m not amused.

    • U NO HOO says:

      Have you ever tried Eastern Rite Catholic Churches? Not Orthodox but the Byzantine Ruthenian Rite. No guitars, no organs, no kneeling…

      Check them out:


    • Liberals Make Great Speedbumps says:

      I agree 100% with you Wirenut, I “retired” in 1976. Even then it was clear to me that the church would do whatever was needed to put asses in the pews to fill the collection basket. No offense to other Catholics here who still believe, I truly respect you for your ability to do so, but this nonsense just further reinforces my belief that I was correct to abandon the church.

    • tranquil.night says:

      “For certain men are secretly entered in, ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord God into riotousness, and denying the only sovereign Ruler, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4)

      The debate over whether Jesus’ Universal Church = physical international religious bureaucracy rages on. Regardless, the Catholic Church remains the most permanent institution of the past 2000 years. Who knows truly to what degree its been subverted by neo-pagans, perverts, masons, and lord knows who else.

      Many Conservative Catholics out there too.. just apparently not in leadership. It’s painful to think about and I hate how the media only highlights the unclean element; sigh, all we can really do is pray for our church.

    • jobeth says:

      I know this isn’t and shouldn’t be a forum for any particular denomination but I will offer this…

      K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid)

      Forget worrying about any one denomination and strictly follow the Bible…both from the Jewish and Christian point of view. Nothing else matters. No particular denomination should override that one source of your faith. If you study it, it has everything you need to know God. The earthly church denominations can really confuse us.

      Those of you who gave up on your churches…I hope you will consider independently going back into the Word, before giving up your faith due to man’s stupid interference in a clear and simple message from His Word.

      Prayers are with you all.

  4. U NO HOO says:

    Is it April 1 already?

  5. EricTheRedVM says:

    Two comments:
    (1) Most of the suggestions on there are things I do every day, mainly because it’s logical and because it keeps my own personal energy and water bills low. Reasonable people don’t need a global warming scare imposed on them or CO2 declared a pollutant by judicial fiat to do this.
    (2) I’m not Catholic; I am Jewish and recently rescinded my membership at our local Reform (i.e., liberal) synagogue because the leadership pulled this left-wing politics cr@p. It’s a real shame that other religious groups and denominations are going in this direction too. Is nothing sacred?

    The Jewish Republican’s Web Sanctuary

    • wardmama4 says:

      Had a friend of my mother’s call the other day (she is taking my mom’s death hard) and she still goes to the church (Methodist) that I grew up in – seems all the people I knew growing up are still there too.

      I left the Methodist church after I encountered a really young, radical minister in OK who was very anti-marriage (they all fail, you know, why bother). My husband left the Catholic church after his father got his 19 year marriage ‘annulled’ so that he could marry again and attend a more ‘progressive’ Catholic church (my husband also no longer speaks to his father).

      It is not any one church – they are all having certain areas/churches that are buying into this pc and new age social garbage – which is bringing down all of them.

      It is no wonder that more than 76% Americans claim they are Christian but Church attendance is dropping like a rock.

      Religion (true faith) should not be about moving into the mainstream – ‘We are in this world, but are not to be of this world’-John 7:14-15

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Hate to poke the bear but the “New pc and new age social garbage” is a direct outgrowth of the “Old PC and Old Age garbage” which was based in the monarchies wanting more tax revenues and that marriage is good, and for reasons not always morally sound. Not just marriage, but land control, property control and, of course, taxes. Much of the “tradition” of the church is closely aligned with money. Our own sensibilities put a morality tint to it. It’s easy to do.

  6. swee says:

    This is just California…..I’d give this another year or two before the Carbon Fast Lent goes the way of the Do-Do bird. I’m giving up Carbs for Lent, but I still need my carbon to live.

  7. wirenut says:

    Eric, nothing is sacred when man is put before God. Thanks, U NO, will do!

  8. GetBackJack says:

    I always give up watermelon.

    Being Southern Baptist.

  9. Mithrandir says:

    Ok ok, it’s a little weird. But, they are volunteering to do this, rather than demanding the government force you to do it, so it’s their freedom to behave however they want. They are not harming anyone.

    Conservation is good for everyone, however, I guess I missed the lecture on what exactly this has to do with getting closer to God?

    Of the 1000s of ways I have witnessed church leaders completely missing the boat on showing and explaining divine fingerprints in this world, I guess you can add this to 1001.

  10. canary says:

    Mithrandir, Do you like elves & wizard stories. I don’t see any church leaders showing and explaining divine fingerprints in this world.

    Okay, of the 1000’s of ways you witnessed, that came to 1001 then this would make whatever “this” is 1002.
    If I got it right, wave that majic stick your swinging, to bring me good luck. Just kidding ; )

  11. sheehanjihad says:

    Yeah, I will give up a little carbon as soon as Washington gives up Pork. So that keeps me from doing anything anytime in the near future…..

    I pay to get good seats at the theatre….I shouldnt have to pay to get seated at church. It’s money…just as it has been for centuries….

    I will give up nothing for lent. I want to be like our church leaders, and our elected officials…

  12. Right of the People says:

    I’m thinking about having some T-shirts printed up:


    You think they’ll sell?

  13. Confucius says:

    So I have to ask.

    What are those black marks that appear on Catholic foreheads every Ash Wednesday? Are they windmills made with pencil?

  14. canary says:

    Confucius, So I had to answer in case we see them on Obama’s forehead.

    Pitssburgh Post-Gazette: Every Ash Wednesday comes the question about ashes: to burn or to buy?
    It’s the tradition that counts
    By Ann Rodgers Mar 03 2010

    “It was such an ordeal. The palms don’t burn easily. I tried mixing it with oil, but you get all of these strings in it. We tried to grind them down with a mortar and pestle. I admire anyone who does that,” said the Rev. Brall, provost of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Downtown.

    Burn vs. buy is a debate for churches as Lent begins.

    “They go a long way,” she said. “I was there for 8 1/2 years, and we went through a quarter of a pill bottle in that time.”

    The Rev. Thomas Sparacino, pastor of St. Mary, burns palm fronds with the help of the church’s maintenance man. If it’s a large batch, they do it at the maintenance man’s home, but they burn small amounts in the barbecue on the rooftop patio of St. Mary’s.

    Burning the palms requires patience — they smolder rather than burst into flame, he said. He removes strings by forcing the ash through a kitchen strainer, then buries the remains in his mother’s garden.

    There, Shrove Tuesday — the day before Ash Wednesday — is marked by panicked calls from clergy.

    “They can’t find their ashes,…It happens every year,” said Judy Pearce, buyer for the Diocesan Purchasing Commission.

    The ashes, from a Texas Palm nursery that also supplies fronds for Palm Sunday, are one of the great bargains in church goods. A bag of ashes for 100 people costs $3.50; a bag for 1,000 costs $12.75. Given the large size of Catholic parishes, some go through several of the largest bags each year.

    But it’s also messy, time-consuming and likely to contaminate the ashes with burned paper or wood used to start the fire. Commercial ash comes from ovens that incinerate the palms alone, he said.

    Ashes are a universal symbol, Father Murrman said.

    “Many cultures use ashes in various ceremonies to indicate a consciousness that we are going to die. At the same time, there is also a consciousness that from ashes we are reborn, that there is a kind of renewal through fire,” he said.

    The “small cross” school cites Jesus’ admonition that those who are fasting should not make a big display, but wash their face and comb their hair so that God alone knows of their sacrifice. The “large cross” school says that the penitent isn’t showing off, but bearing witness.


    As a Catholic child, I thought my Catholic church was cheap, my forehead ashes were gone by the time I got to the mirror. I wanted to be a nun, and took my witch costume for Halloween and made it into a nun habit, and wore it all the time pretending to fly & sing outside like the flying nun, or inside listening to the Singing Nun, or Maria, to include playing on the piano. When the nuns started forever changing their outfits it wasn’t fun.

    My Green neighbor’s Episcopal ashes last all day. They drive their SUV to far places to build fires, camp, and pollute our natural waters by swimming in them, and shooting fire-crackers over the mass water. Then they come home and point fingers at all the neighbors, while they put garbage in the recycle bins. They have a lawn mower with extension cord. It’s about doing your best.

    • jobeth says:

      “Confucius, So I had to answer in case we see them on Obama’s forehead”

      Now Canary…I believe global warming would be more likely to happen than O’Balmy ever having an ash mark on his forehead!

      Possibly a turban…but I could never envision the ash mark! I think he would die before wearing a mark of Christianity! lol

      Considering his behavior…I expect he gave up Christianity for lent.
      Could you imagine the looks on his muslim homeboy’s faces if he showed up with and ash mark on his forehead!

    • Confucius says:

      Thanks for your post, canary.

      Maybe your neighbors’ ashes lasted longer because they were more sinful and needed more time to repent. :-)

      Anyway, I thought the news article was funny in that of all the carbon-fast recommendations, none probed the use of something other than ash as it is a carbon by-product of burning palm leaves.

      I sent this article to two of my closest friends who also happen to be Catholic. They both howled . . . and then asked for forgiveness.

    • Confucius says:

      Very funny, jobeth . . . particularly your last two sentences.

    • canary says:

      Joe Beth, I’m not worried about Obama causing global warming, I am afraid such a deceitful action might bring lightening upon him. Surely, he would not bring allah’s wrath against him.

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