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Pope Francis: Climate Crisis is a 'Religious Problem', Calls for Collective Response at COP28

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Geeta Pillai
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Pope Francis: Climate Crisis is a 'Religious Problem', Calls for Collective Response at COP28

Pope Francis delivered a compelling message at the COP28 U.N. Climate Summit, painting the global climate crisis as not only an environmental issue but also a religious and ethical problem. His remarks, conveyed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, resonated with the urgency of action and the crucial involvement of religious communities in tackling the world's environmental challenges.

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Interconnectedness of Climate Crisis and Religion

The Pope's words underscored the interconnectedness of the global climate crisis with religious and ethical dimensions. Highlighting the debut of the Faith Pavilion at the COP conference, he expressed gratitude to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and the President of the United Arab Emirates for their contributions. The Pope emphasized the collective responsibility of the human family to protect the planet, asserting that all genuine religious beliefs are wellsprings of action and encounter.

The Ethical Dimension of Climate Crisis

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Pope Francis delved into the ethical implications of the climate crisis, attributing its genesis to the human presumption of self-sufficiency and an unquenchable thirst for power. He called for a radical shift in lifestyles and a commitment to sober and fraternal ways of living. In his view, religions bear a critical responsibility to teach contemplation and to perceive creation not merely as an ecosystem to conserve but also a gift to cherish.

Peace, Stewardship of the Planet, and the Role of Religions

The Pope drew a poignant link between peace and the stewardship of the planet, highlighting how conflicts and wars harm the environment and hinder collective efforts to address global challenges. He rallied for a united front from all world religions to counteract the destructive fallout of human behavior on the environment, advocating for a return to individual contemplation of nature's wonder.

Furthermore, Pope Francis stressed the need for immediate action to safeguard the environment, endorsing an ecological conversion and a shift in our way of life. He insisted that increased spending alone is inadequate and that education toward respectful and sustainable lifestyles is vital. His call for the eradication of fossil fuels aligns with the actions of hundreds of Catholic institutions worldwide that have declared their intention to divest from them.

In essence, Pope Francis's address at the COP28 Faith Pavilion underscored the pivotal role of religions as humanity's conscience, reminding individuals of their finite nature and the need for a return to contemplation and respect for the planet. His call to arms resonated with a plea for unity among world religions to combat the climate crisis and work toward a more sustainable and harmonious future for our planet.

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