Thursday, April 20, 2023

Social and environmental crisis are one says Pope Francis


Pope Francis receives Interfaith Leaders of Greater ManchesterPope Francis receives Interfaith Leaders of Greater Manchester  (VATICAN MEDIA Divisione Foto)

'The social and environmental crises are one,' Pope tells Interfaith Leaders

'The social and environmental crises are one,' Pope Francis insisted as he thanked Interfaith Leaders from Greater Manchester for their commitment to combat and safeguard against these crises, and to pursue to common good.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

"We need, in a word, to acknowledge that the environmental and social crises of our time are not two separate crises but one..." insisted Pope Francis as he addressed Interfaith Leaders from Greater Manchester in the Vatican on Thursday.

The Pope expressed his appreciation for their efforts, as religious and political leaders, to raise awareness of the "urgent need" to protect the environment and work concretely to address the effects of climate change. 

"Your united witness," the Pope told them, "is particularly eloquent, since the history of your city is closely linked to the industrial revolution, with its legacy of immense technical and economic progress, together with an admittedly negative impact on the human and natural environment."  

Safeguarding and respecting human dignity

"It has become increasingly evident, in fact, that our present commitment to safeguarding God’s gift of creation," the Pope said, "must be part of a broader effort to promote an integral ecology that respects both the dignity and value of each human person and acknowledges the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the poor."

"We need, in a word, to acknowledge that the environmental and social crises of our time are not two separate crises but one," he stressed. 

Certainly, the Pope acknowledged, this demands the creation of new and far-sighted economic models, but also "a determination to overcome the 'throwaway' culture of waste generated by present-day consumerism and by a globalized indifference that inhibits efforts to address these human and social problems in the light of the common good."

Duty to protect

Pope Francis said their work is distinguished by its "common witness to the intrinsically moral and religious dimension of our duty to protect the environment as a God-given gift calling for our responsible stewardship."

Within their communities, and guided by the wisdom of their various traditions, he said, "you play an important role in contributing to a much-needed “ecological conversion” grounded in the values of respect for nature, sobriety, human solidarity, and concern for the future of our societies."  

An essential aspect of this contribution, he said, is their commitment, as men and women of faith, "to forming the minds and hearts of the young," and "seconding their demand for a change of course and for farsighted policies that have as their goal a sustainable and integral human development." 

Pope Francis concluded by addressing those before him as friends, offering his prayerful good wishes for their work and their intentions.

"Upon all of you, I cordially invoke the divine blessings of wisdom, strength, and peace. And I ask you kindly to remember me in your prayers."

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