Climate change is a religious problem, COP28 told


In a message to COP28 (Conference of Parties), Pope Francis stressed religious leaders’ responsibility for caring for the planet.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin read the message on Francis’s behalf on Sunday at the COP28 Faith Pavilion.

He passed on Francis’s thanks to those in the new Pavilion. They included the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, and the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The Pavilion “is the first of its kind at the heart of a COP” Francis’s message noted.

It shows all authentic religious beliefs are a source of encounter and action.

“It is important to see ourselves, beyond our differences, as brothers and sisters in the one human family and, as believers, to remind ourselves and the world that as sojourners on this earth we have a duty to protect our common home.”

Religions remind us that humanity is finite and has limits, Francis’ message noted.

Life must be protected, he stressed. This is done by “opposing the rapacious illusion of omnipotence that is devastating our planet.

“That insatiable desire for power wells up whenever we consider ourselves lords of the world, whenever we live as though God did not exist and, as a result, end up prey to passing things.”

Humans have become “mere commodities, desensitised, incapable of sorrow and compassion, self-absorbed and, turning our backs on morality and prudence, we destroy the very sources of life” Parolin read from Francis’s speech.

This “is why the problem of climate change is also a religious problem: its roots lie in the creature’s presumption of self-sufficiency” Francis’s continued.

Call to action

There is an urgent need to act “for the sake of the environment” Cop28 heard.

Increasing spending isn’t enough, Francis’s message said.

“We need to change our way of life and thus educate everyone to sober and fraternal lifestyles.

“This is an essential obligation for religions which are called to teach contemplation, since creation is not only an ecosystem to preserve, but also a gift to embrace.

“A world poor in contemplation will be a world polluted in soul, a world that will continue to discard people and produce waste.”

Prayer ensures our words are not “bereft of compassion and tears” he said.

Peace and caring for creation “are interdependent.

“A home is liveable only when… peace reigns within” COP28 heard.

Religions have a specific role in peacekeeping.

“May our actions not contradict the words we speak; may we not merely speak about peace, but take a stand against those who claim to be believers yet fuel hatred and do not oppose violence.”

Right now “the world needs alliances that are not against someone but in favour of everyone”.

Religions must work together and set a good example. Two of the most important global issues are peace and the climate.

“With a loud voice, let us implore leaders of nations that our common home be preserved” the pope’s message said.


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News category: World.

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