Pope Francis has declared that the destruction of the environment should be considered a sin, and as such, has proposed that environmental conservation be added among the traditional Christian acts of mercy, which include activities such as caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, and sheltering the homeless, The Guardian reports.
“Global warming continues. 2015 was the warmest year on record, and 2016 will likely be warmer still. This is leading to ever more severe droughts, floods, fires and extreme weather events.”
“Climate change is also contributing to the heart-rending refugee crisis. The world’s poor, though least responsible for climate change, are most vulnerable and already suffering its impact.”
During the event, Pope Francis said that mankind had turned the planet into “a polluted wasteland full of debris, desolation and filth,” and that we needed to repent for our sins against the environment. He asked the people to use the pope’s holy year of forgiveness in 2016 to “acknowledge our sins against creation, the poor and future generations.”
“We must not be indifferent or resigned to the loss of biodiversity and the destruction of ecosystems, often caused by our irresponsible and selfish behavior. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence. We have no such right.”
The Pope also requested the people to reflect upon their lifestyles and the society they had created. Pope Francis pointed out that we ought to change our lifestyles, which instead of being centered around the exploitation of the environment and its resources, could be dedicated to nurturing it by planting trees, reducing waste and using clean energy.
“The resolve to live differently should affect our various contributions to shaping the culture and society in which we live.”
Pope Francis took direct aim at conservative business and political leaders, asking them to stop looking at the short-term gains and instead focus on the future of the planet and mankind. He also pointed out that it was time they started taking steps towards resolving the “ecological debt” that exists between the northern and the southern hemispheres.
“Repaying it would require treating the environments of poorer nations with care and providing the financial resources and technical assistance needed to help them deal with climate change and promote sustainable development.”
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