Pope calls for urgent 'care' of the planet to avoid the 'perfect storm' brought by climate change and the pandemic
Pope Francis met with US President Joe Biden focusing on climate change ahead of the G20 Summit in Rome and the COP26 Conference in Glasgow. The pontiff also released an audio message to the BBC. in it, he says: “The most important lesson we can take from these crises is our need to build together, so that there will no longer be any borders, barriers or political walls for us to hide behind.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis devoted today to the climate crisis ahead of the GO7 Summit in Rome and the COP26 conference in Glasgow. To this end, the pontiff released an audio message to the BBC and met US President Joe Biden as well as South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
In his message, Francis called for an “urgent change in direction” to overcome the convergence of crises caused by climate change and the pandemic, which are driving humanity towards a “perfect storm”, this despite the fact that never before had humans had so many means to overcome such challenges.
The meeting with Biden was exceptionally long, about an hour and 30 minutes, much more than the one with his predecessor – Trump stayed with the Pope for only half an hour.
Joe Biden was the 14th US president to visit the Vatican, the second Catholic after John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who was the first president to be received by a pontiff, Paul VI at the time.
The Holy See issued a statement about today’s meeting. It read: “During the course of the cordial discussions, the Parties focused on the joint commitment to the protection and care of the planet, the healthcare situation and the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the theme of refugees and assistance to migrants. Reference was also made to the protection of human rights, including freedom of religion and conscience. Finally, the talks enabled an exchange of views on some matters regarding the current international situation, also in the context of the imminent G20 summit in Rome, and on the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation.”
Before the meeting, the pontiff released an audio message to the BBC, reiterating some of the notions that are important to him. Most notably, he said that “Climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed our deep vulnerability and raised numerous doubts and concerns about our economic systems and the way we organize our societies.”
in fact, it appears that “We have lost our sense of security, and are experiencing a sense of powerlessness and loss of control over our lives.” Thus, “We find ourselves increasingly frail and even fearful, caught up in a succession of ‘crises’ in the areas of health care, the environment, food supplies and the economy, to say nothing of social, humanitarian and ethical crises. All these crises are profoundly interconnected. They also forecast a ‘perfect storm’ that could rupture the bonds holding our society together within the greater gift of God’s creation.”
Every crisis, Francis added, presents “opportunities that we must not waste.” Indeed, “We can confront these crises by retreating into isolationism, protectionism and exploitation. Or we can see in them a real chance for change, a genuine moment of conversion, and not simply in a spiritual sense.
“This last approach alone can guide us towards a brighter horizon. Yet it can only be pursued through a renewed sense of shared responsibility for our world, and an effective solidarity based on justice, a sense of our common destiny and a recognition of the unity of our human family in God’s plan for the world.
“All this represents an immense cultural challenge. It means giving priority to the common good, and it calls for a change in perspective, a new outlook, in which the dignity of every human being, now and in the future, will guide our ways of thinking and acting.
“The most important lesson we can take from these crises is our need to build together, so that there will no longer be any borders, barriers or political walls for us to hide behind.”
The Pope noted that the appeal launched on 4 October with the world’s religious leaders mentioned “the need to work responsibly towards a ‘culture of care’ for our common home, but also for ourselves, and the need to work tirelessly to eliminate “the seeds of conflicts: greed, indifference, ignorance, fear, injustice, insecurity and violence”.
Finally, “Humanity has never before had at its disposal so many means for achieving this goal. The political decision makers who will meet at COP26 in Glasgow are urgently summoned to provide effective responses to the present ecological crisis and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations. And it is worth repeating that each of us – whoever and wherever we may be – can play our own part in changing our collective response to the unprecedented threat of climate change and the degradation of our common home.”