Swiss Glacier Vow

Very interesting Catholic Climate Change news story, courtesy of CathNews USA:

Swiss Catholic villagers who have for centuries offered a sacred vow to God against the advancing ice mass of the Great Aletsch glacier now want to alter the vows.
The villagers' vow, established in 1678, is that the citizens of the mountain hamlets of Fiesch and Fieschertal would pledge to lead virtuous lives and in exchange, God would spare their homes and livelihoods from being swallowed by Europe's largest glacier as it expanded toward the valley with heavy winter snows ...

But the Aletsch is melting amid temperatures that are 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer than in the 19th century. The New York Times featured a picture of the nearby Rhone glacier (photo), which also depicts diminished ice.

"We all know, and the Holy Father reminded us in his Easter message, that an unprecedented change in the climate is taking place," Rev Pascal Venetz said in his sermon to 100 people at the Ernerwald Chapel, where until modern times pious women were prohibited from wearing coloured underwear for fear of provoking the glacier.

"Glacier is ice, ice is water and water is life," Venetz said to the villagers from the Valais region, which has sent its sons to protect the Vatican as Swiss Guards since the 16th century, the AP report said.

"Without the glacier the springs run dry and the brooks evaporate. Men and women face great danger. Alps and pastures vanish and towns die out." ...

He said he would ask the local bishop to seek Pope Benedict XVI's permission to change the vow, to pray the glacier will stop shrinking.

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