Vatican delivers statement to COP 26 officials

The Joint Appeal presented by Pope Francis at the Vatican on behalf of those gathered urges greater international collaboration to achieve net-zero carbon emissions as soon as possible - Photo:pexels.comThe Joint Appeal presented by Pope Francis at the Vatican on behalf of those gathered urges greater international collaboration to achieve net-zero carbon emissions as soon as possible - Photo:pexels.com

On the Feast of St Francis of Assisi (October 4th), the patron saint of ecology, Pope Francis gathered leaders representing the world’s religions, scientists and other leaders at the Vatican ahead of the upcoming United Nations Climate Conference (COP 26) to be held in Glasgow between October 31st and November 12th. The one-day meeting brought the leaders united by a common concern to ensure the success of the upcoming climate meetings.  A Joint Appeal was signed and delivered by Pope Francis to the COP26 President-Designate, and the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs.  A Vatican News statement on October 4th reports that in his address, Pope Francis expressed thanks to those present and stated their presence showed, “a desire for a deepened dialogue among ourselves and with scientific experts.”  The Pope also noted that COP 26, “represents an urgent summons to provide effective responses to the unprecedented ecological crisis and the crisis of values that we are presently experiencing, and offers concrete hope.”  

The Church has been contributing to the growing voice of leaders worldwide who, for decades, have recognized that climate change is a most critical issue of our time.  The Church acknowledges its particular responsibility to care for God’s creation and to participate with others in meaningful change towards an integrated and sustainable way of living and protecting those most impacted. 

The Joint Appeal presented by Pope Francis at the Vatican on behalf of those gathered urges greater international collaboration to achieve net-zero carbon emissions as soon as possible.

On September 1st, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and Patriarch Bartholomew, signed a joint statement urging Christians to play their part in caring for creation and to pray for the COP 26 Climate Conference.  

Columban missionaries worldwide, who witness in their daily lives the impact of climate change on those most vulnerable, are contributing in many ways to raising key issues in preparation for COP 26.   Several Columbans will be attending the event. 

In his address to participants of the Faith and Science: Towards COP 26 meeting at the Vatican on October 4th, Pope Francis proposed three concepts to guide their reflection: “Openness to interdependence and sharing, the dynamism of love and the call to respect.” 

Faith and science leaders have been in dialogue for months to unite efforts to raise awareness about the unprecedented challenges facing Earth community.  COP 26 is the most important climate meeting since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 to limit global warming.  Despite commitments, the impacts of climate change are escalating, and new targets are needed to raise ambition towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

The Joint Appeal presented by Pope Francis at the Vatican on behalf of those gathered urges greater international collaboration to achieve net-zero carbon emissions as soon as possible.  Pope Francis also affirms the commitment made by faith leaders to deepen their own efforts and continue to collaborate broadly to help heal wounded Earth and peoples. 

Sr Caroline Vaitkunas RSM, Peace, Ecology and Justice Team member, Columban Mission Centre, Essendon.

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