Pope calls for ‘covenant’ with the environment

WelCom September 2022 Pope Francis has called for ‘a covenant between human beings and the environment’ to combat climate change. Humanity can no longer ignore the cries of the earth that…

WelCom September 2022

A man walks on the dry riverbed of the Sangone River, a tributary of the Po River, in Turin, Italy. Italy is experiencing its worst drought in 70 years. Photo: Massimo Pinca, CNS/Reuters

Pope Francis has called for ‘a covenant between human beings and the environment’ to combat climate change. Humanity can no longer ignore the cries of the earth that is suffering due to greed and the excessive consumption of its resources, the Pope said.

In his message for the upcoming World Day of Prayer for Creation and month-long Season of Creation, the Pope said the current climate crisis is a call for all people, especially Christians, to ‘repent and modify our lifestyles and destructive systems’ in a collective effort to rein in climate change and save ecosystems and people on a planet he said is reaching ‘a breaking point’.

‘The present state of decay of our common home merits the same attention as other global challenges such as grave health crises and wars. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience,’ he wrote in his message.

The theme of the World Day of Prayer for Creation, which will be celebrated September 1, is ‘Listen to the voice of creation’.

The Pope said the earth has fallen ‘prey to our consumerist excesses’ and to a ‘tyrannical anthropocentrism’, an attitude in which people think they are the centre of the universe. Such an attitude is at odds ‘with Christ’s centrality in the work of creation’.

Exaggerated self-centeredness, he said, has led to the loss of biodiversity and has greatly impacted the lives of the poor and vulnerable Indigenous populations.

‘As a result of predatory economic interests, their ancestral lands are being invaded and devastated on all sides, provoking a cry that rises up to heaven,’ he said.

Furthermore, the Pope said, younger generations feel ‘menaced by short-sighted and selfish actions’ and are ‘anxiously asking us adults to do everything possible to prevent, or at least limit, the collapse of our planet’s ecosystems.’

Pope Francis has called for bolder actions from nations at two major international environment summits later this year. The Pope proposed that an ecological conversion must occur not only among individuals but within ‘the community of nations’, with particular attention to United Nations conferences focused on addressing climate change and rapid biodiversity loss.

Presenting the Pope’s message at the Vatican press office, Canadian Cardinal Michael Czerny, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said Pope Francis’ message served as a call for bolder action by world leaders.

‘While countries under the Paris Agreement agreed to work to limit average global temperature rise to 1.5°C, the planet has already heated at least 1.1°C since preindustrial times, yet new fossil fuel projects every day accelerate our race toward the precipice,’ Czerny said. ‘Enough is enough. All new exploration and production of coal, oil and gas must immediately end, and existing production of fossil fuels must be urgently phased out.’

Source: Crux