Pope Francis: Religions must unite to combat climate change
Pope Francis called on Sunday for all religions to unite in opposition to the "rapacious" destruction of the environment, Reuters reported. The head of the Catholic Church had planned to preside over the opening of the Pavilion of Faith at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, but a health issue forced him to remain in the Vatican.
Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin read the pope's message in his place, as he also did with Francis's main speech at the conference on Saturday.
"Religions, as voices of the conscience of humanity, remind us that we are finite creatures, who need the infinite," the pope said, noting that a Pavilion of Faith was a first at a COP conference.
"Because we are truly mortal, we have our limits, and protecting life also means opposing the rapacious illusion of omnipotence that is devastating our planet," he said.
Religions, he further remarked, "must act urgently on behalf of the environment," educate their members to "a sober and fraternal lifestyle" instead of a wasteful one, and work for a return to individual contemplation of the majesty of nature.
"This is an essential obligation for religions, which are called to teach contemplation, since creation is not just an ecosystem that we must conserve, but a gift that we must embrace," Francis said.
"A world poor in contemplation will be a world polluted in spirit, a world that will continue to discard people and produce waste," he added.
In his main speech on Saturday at the conference, Francis also reiterated his call for the elimination of fossil fuels.
Hundreds of Catholic institutions around the world have announced that they intend to phase them out.
In his speech to religious leaders, Francis also said that peace and the stewardship of the planet are interdependent.
"Before our eyes, we can see how wars and conflicts damage the environment and divide nations, preventing a common commitment to address common problems, such as the protection of the planet," he said.
Translation by Iurie Tataru