Pope calls on world religions to unite against environmental destruction



Pope Francis signs United Declaration of Faith on Climate Change as part of UN launch "faith pavilion" At Casa Santa Marta, Dubai during COP28

Pope Francis delivers a video message to be broadcast during the inauguration of the “Faith Pavilion” at the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta during COP28 in Dubai, in this handout image published on December 3, 2023. It’s being recorded.Handout/file photo licensing rights via Vatican Media/Reuters

DUBAI, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Sunday it was essential for the world’s religions to unite to combat “violent” environmental destruction.

The 86-year-old pope was due to preside at the opening of the faith pavilion at the climate conference C0P28 in Dubai, but was forced to remain in the Vatican due to lung inflammation.

As with Francis’ main speech at Saturday’s conference, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin read the pope’s message on his behalf.

“Religion, as the voice of humanity’s conscience, reminds us that we are finite creatures and have a desire for the infinite,” the Pope said, as the Faith Pavilion was installed for the first time at a COP meeting. I mentioned that.

“Because we are indeed mortal beings, we have limits, and preserving life also requires countering the greedy illusions of omnipotence that are destroying our planet.” That’s why,” he said.

He said the religion “urgently needs to act in the interest of the environment,” educating its members in a “modest, fraternal lifestyle” rather than wasteful living, and a return to individual contemplation of the grandeur of nature. He said there was a need to work on it.

“This is an essential obligation for religions that are called to teach contemplation, because creation is not only an ecosystem to be preserved, but also a gift to be embraced,” Francisco said.

“A world lacking in reflection will be a world of polluted souls, a world that continues to discard people and produce waste,” he said.

In his main speech at the conference on Saturday, Mr. Francisco reiterated his call for an end to fossil fuels.

Hundreds of Catholic educational institutions around the world have announced plans to exit their institutions.

But in the United States, the world’s biggest oil and gas producer and where about a quarter of the population is Catholic, no diocese has announced it will divest from fossil fuel assets, according to a Reuters poll.

In his address to religious leaders, Francis also said that peace and stewardship of the planet are interdependent.

“We can see before our eyes how wars and conflicts harm the environment, divide nations, and hinder common efforts to address common problems like protecting our planet.” he said.

Reporting: Philip Pullella Editing: Bernadette Baum

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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