Father Craig Boly, St. Ignatius Catholic Church
“The Catholic faith tradition celebrates the importance of water through the sacrament of baptism. In this sacrament, the gift of water becomes a source of new life.
The tradition also recognizes the inalienable human right and need for all to have access to water. As Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical Laudato Si: On Care of Our Common Home, “Access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights.”
Jesus tells us that this access is not simply a universal human right, but that providing access is our responsibility to ensure that all of our brothers and sisters have water. In a passage in the Bible, Jesus says that when “I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink.” As hearers inquire when they gave Him something to drink, Jesus responds that whatever we do for one of these “least brothers and sisters,” we do for Him. Ensuring access to clean water for all people, therefore, is essential to an authentic practice of our faith.
Clean water is crucial for the life of our community – for the forests that clean our air and provide timber, for the agriculture and all of the farmworkers that help to feed us, for the salmon and the fishing industry, and for everyone who drinks fresh water each day. Therefore, it is our responsibility as we care for our neighbors to ensure that all have the clean water they need to thrive. This is especially so since the sacramentality of water and the right of all people to have access to clean water are core to the Catholic faith.”