ROME — Pope Francis received John Kerry in private audience at the Vatican Monday, where the two discussed the importance of combating climate change for the good of the planet.
Kerry, in Rome as United States presidential envoy for climate, praised the pontiff for his leadership on the topic of climate change and suggested that fighting global warming is a key element of Christian morality.
Pope Francis has “remarkable leverage” on the question of climate change, Kerry asserted in an interview with journalists, “because he has constantly been an outspoken and engaged advocate on this issue, he believes it very deeply.”
“He’s very troubled by where we are, and where we are not, and where we should be,” Kerry added. “I think he’s thinking about ways he can continue to have an impact on it, I’m sure.”
“We talked about that and I’m very confident about his openness to finding what’s going to be most comfortable for him to do at this point, and what makes most sense for him to do,” he said.
“I think it’s important for religious leaders to be engaged on this issue because it goes to the heart of morality, of individual responsibility for others and for mother earth,” Kerry, a Catholic, asserted. “It has a lot to do with the scriptures of one religion or another.”
“Creation, care, is very much a live theory of Christian and other responsibility, so I don’t think you can fulfill your obligations without taking care of the planet into consideration,” he said.
It’s hard to be honoring poor people “if you’re not focused on stopping the cause of this increased crisis, and that cause are the emissions that come from the unabated burning of fossil fuel, so that’s what we have to focus on,” he declared.
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Pope Francis has contended that two chief threats to humanity are the “immense crisis” of global warming and the possibility of nuclear war.
In a 2018 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the pope said world leaders must do all they can to assist humanity in facing the most pressing threats facing the planet, namely “the immense and ongoing crisis of climate change and the nuclear menace.”
Human actions are at the core of many global changes, the pope asserted, especially where climate change is concerned.
“Hence there is also a need for adequate responses aimed at protecting the health of the planet and its inhabitants, a health put at risk by all those human activities that employ fossil fuels and deforest the planet,” he said.
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