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Aqua fons vitae, “Water is a source of life”.

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

This year, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development published Aqua fons vitae, “Water is a source of life”. They looked at our relationship to water so that evangelical principles could be animated by concrete action and not just abstractions. They use Catholic Social Teachings about human dignity, the common good, solidarity, and justice to inform a new development paradigm.

This 2020 document braids teachings of the Popes with the experiences of local churches, dioceses, associations, and Catholic schools. You can read the entire work here.

There is deep concern about the slow progress for the Universal Right to Water and Sanitation, passed by the United Nations General Assembly 10 years ago. With 884 million people still without clean drinking water, a greater effort is desperately needed.

The document is well researched with data and insight about climate change factors, privatization challenges, pollution of freshwaters and oceans, and the unjust distribution of water and democratic control.

What distinguishes this water declaration from most others is its affirmation for water’s role in ceremony, healing, beauty, wonder, peace, and vitality across our common home. While it values the utility of water for human use, the Discastery authors prefer to help readers understand a deeper and more soulful relationship to water.

Aqua fons vitae details dozens of action proposals that are also critical components of the CSJ Blue Community project.

Key proposals include:

  • Abandon the use of disposable plastic bottles and support public clean up efforts.

  • Inform people about the human right to water and about those who are denied this right.

  • Pay special attention to the needs of society’s most marginal.

  • Encourage people’s participation in water decision-making and the need for ‘free, prior, and informed consent’.

  • Allow water issues to open up new dialogue and to unite people in peace-making.

The CSJ Blue Community project remains active on these proposals and a relevant voice promoting ‘water is a source of life’. We are a key contributor to the People’s Water Campaign with participation in the Advisory Committee, a webinar about water declarations on September 21st, and the culminating Watershed 2020 convention on September 26th. From the Wellington Water Water’s website: The People’s Water Campaign is a broad-based campaign to restore environmental protections for water security and help build the movement for water justice in Ontario.

See the rest of our project website to learn how we are animating the Aqua fons vitae document and putting principles into action.

By Paul Baines
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