Pope’s Address to Participants in Climate Change Conference

“Henceforth, I offer to the Lord our common effort, asking Him to bless it so that humanity will finally listen to the cry of the earth — today our Mother Earth is among the many excluded that cry to Heaven for help!”

Here is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ address today in the Vatican to some 300 participants in a meeting promoted by the Foundation for Sustainable Development, “Environmental justice and Climate Change:”

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Distinguished Gentlemen and Ladies, good morning and welcome!

I thank Doctor Ronchi and Doctor Caio for having opened our meeting, and I thank all of you for having collaborated with this international meeting, dedicated to a subject whose importance and urgency cannot be exaggerated. Climate is a common good, gravely threatened today: phenomenons indicate it such as climate change, global warming and the increase of extreme meteorological events. They are topics, or objects, which attract great attention from the media and public opinion, and around which  and from which angry scientific and political debates are widespread, though not unanimous, consensus has emerged.

Why and how should we be concerned about it? We cannot forget the grave social implications of climate change: the poorest will suffer the greatest consequences! Therefore — as the title of this meeting correctly shows —  the question of climate is a question of justice and also of solidarity, which is never separated from justice. At stake is the dignity of everyone, as people, as communities, as women and men.

Science and technology put in our hands an unprecedented power: it is our duty to use it for the common good for the whole of humanity, especially for the poorest and future generations. Will our generation succeed in “being remembered for having assumed our responsibilities with generosity”? (Encyclical Laudato Si’, 165). Perhaps among the many contradictions of our time, we have sufficient reason to nurture the hope of succeeding in this. And it is from this hope, that we must allow ourselves to be led.

In carrying out this commitment, I hope that each one of you will experience the pleasure of participating in actions that transmit life. The joy of the Gospel also dwells here.

In what way, can we exercise our responsibility, our solidarity, our dignity of persons and citizens of the world? Each one is called to respond personally, in the measure appropriate to him based on the role occupied in the family, in the work world, in the economy and in research, in civil society and in institutions. Improbable recipes will not be drawn. No one has them! Rather, offering what happened in dialogue and accepting that one’s own contribution is put in discussion: a contribution is requested of all in view of a result that cannot be, but fruit of a common work. The great enemy here is hypocrisy. Rightly does your meeting represent an example of the practice of this dialogue, which in the encyclical Laudato Si’ I proposed as the only way to address the problems of our world and to seek truly effective solutions. It seems to me a sign of great importance, even Providential, that outstanding exponents of different “worlds” are taking part in this meeting: of religion and politics, economic activity and scientific research in many sectors, international organizations and those committed in the fight against poverty.

To bear fruit, this dialogue is in need of being inspired by a vision that is both transparent and wide, and to proceed according to an integral approach, but especially participatory, including all the parties concerned, also those that remain more easily on the margins of institutional processes.

I address to everyone a pressing invitation to make every effort, so that when seeking at the table the way to resolve the unique and complex socio-environmental crisis, the voice of the poorest may be heard, among the nations and people: this is also a duty of environmental justice.

Facing the emergency of climate change and with our sight turned to the crucial meetings that in the forthcoming months will address it — the approval of the objectives of Sustainable Development by the United Nations at the end of this month and especially the COP 21 of Paris at the beginning of December — I hope that this dialogue will become a genuine alliance to be brought to really significant global environmental agreements.

In this endeavor, you can count on my personal support and that of the whole Church, beginning with the indispensable help of prayer. Henceforth, I offer to the Lord our common effort, asking Him to bless it so that humanity will finally listen to the cry of the earth — today our Mother Earth is among the many excluded that cry to Heaven for help! Our Mother Earth is an excluded one!  — also the cry of the earth, our Mother and Sister, and of the poorest among those that inhabit her, and to look after them. In this way, Creation will come ever closer to the common house that the one Father has designed as gift for the universal family of his creatures. I ask God’s blessing for you all. Thank you.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

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