Last week, Pope Francis received participants of a two-day pre-COP26 parliamentary meeting at the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall. The meeting, co-organised by the Italian Parliament and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), concluded in Rome, and discussed steps which governments could undertake to take care of the environment for future generations. Its aim was to “set the floor for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference”, which will be hosted by Italy and UK, happening in Glasglow from November 1 to 12.
Pope Francis spoke to the participants through an address, where he talked about a Joint Appeal based on the “awareness of the unprecedented challenges that threaten us and life on our beautiful common home… and the necessity of an even deeper solidarity in the face of the global pandemic and of the growing concern” that he recently signed alongside other religious leaders and scientists. (Read: Global Catholic Climate Movement Changes Name To Laudato Si Movement)
Spirit of fraternity
According to the Holy Father, the process of signing the Joint Appeal was a symbol of fraternity, highlighting “an impressive convergence of all our different voices on two points.” The two points, the Pope says, are: first, their “sorrow” with regards to the harm that has been inflicted onto our environment and the human family, and second, the “urgent need for a change of direction” and the undertaking of a path towards care.
He added that people should rise up to the challenge–especially those who are in “positions of great responsibility in the various sectors of society.” Pope Francis shared that it is also an educational and political challenge as all change needs an educational process and governments must adopt new courses of action. (Read: LOOK: 3 Times Pope Francis Speaks Up About Climate Change)
“The challenge to promote an education for an integral ecology is one to which we, the representatives of the religions, are firmly committed,” he stated, “We appeal to governments to adopt without delay a course of action that would limit the average global temperature rise and to take courageous steps, including the strengthening of international cooperation.”
The pope will not be attending the COP26 event in Glasglow this coming November. Instead, Cardinal Pietro Parolin will head the Vatican City delegation to the summit.