The Pope’s message for the World Day of Prayer that the Churches celebrate together on September 1 has been published. “Let Justice and Peace Flow” is this year’s theme. Petition to governments for Cop28 in Dubai: “Let there be a quick and just transition to end the era of fossil fuels.”
Vatican City () – “Let us heed the call to be together with the victims of environmental and climate injustice and end the senseless war against Creation”. This is the invitation made by Pope Francis in his message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creationwhich will be held on September 1, 2023. The text -presented today at a press conference in the Vatican- is inspired by the biblical words of the book of the prophet Amos: “Like the waters flows law and justice like an eternal torrent “(5.24).
In his reflection, Pope Francis returned to the theme of integral ecology, which combines custody of creation and care for others. Recalling the pilgrimage he made in July 2022 on the shores of Lake Santa Ana, in Alberta, together with the indigenous peoples of Canada, the pontiff wrote: “Let us stop at the beating of the heart: ours, that of our mothers and grandmothers, the beat of the created heart and the heart of God. Today they are not in harmony, they do not beat together in justice and peace”.
The Pope spoke of a “war against creation” and, to describe its effects, quoted the words of Benedict XVI: “The external deserts are multiplying in the world, because the internal deserts have become very extensive.” “Predatory consumerism, fueled by selfish hearts,” Francisco commented, “is disrupting the planet’s water cycle. The rampant use of fossil fuels and the clearing of forests are raising temperatures and causing severe droughts. The terrifying scarcity Increasingly affecting our homes, from small rural communities to large metropolises, predatory industries are depleting and contaminating our sources of drinking water with extreme practices such as hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas extraction, uncontrolled extraction megaprojects and intensive animal husbandry”.
For the river of justice and peace to flow again on Earth today, it is necessary to make courageous decisions. “We must decide to transform our hearts, our lifestyles and the public policies that govern our societies,” the Pope wrote. The first step is the “ecological conversion” of the heart of which John Paul II already spoke: “To renew our relationship with creation, so that we no longer consider it as an object to be exploited, but rather, on the contrary, we guard it as a sacred gift from the Creator”.
But this conversion of the heart must be translated into a change of lifestyle. “Let us repent of our ‘ecological sins’, as my brother, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, warns – Francis wrote -; let us adopt, with the help of God’s grace, lifestyles with less waste and less unnecessary consumption, especially where the processes of production are toxic and unsustainable. Let us take maximum care of our habits and our economic options, so that everyone is better off: our fellow men, wherever they are, and also our children’s children. Let us collaborate in the continuity of God’s creation through positive options : using resources as sparingly as possible, practicing joyful sobriety, eliminating and recycling waste, and making use of the ecologically and socially responsible products and services that are increasingly available.
But political options are also necessary, which is why in his message Pope Francis called for COP28, the world conference on climate change to be held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12: “The leaders of the world They must listen to the science and initiate a swift and equitable transition to end the age of fossil fuels.” Under the Paris Agreement commitments to curb the risk of global warming, it makes no sense to allow exploration and expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure to continue. Let’s raise our voices to stop this injustice with the poor and with our children, who will suffer the worst impacts of climate change.”
Finally, the pontiff recalled the coincidence this year between the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, on October 4, and the start of the Synod on Synodality. “Just as a river is a source of life for the environment around it,” he wrote, “so our Synodal Church must be a source of life for our common home and for all those who inhabit it. And in the same way that a river gives life to all kinds of animal and plant species, so a synodal Church must give life by sowing justice and peace in all the places it reaches”. Hence the invitation that is valid both for the Season of Creation and for the Synod: “Let us live, work and pray so that our common home once again overflows with life. May the Holy Spirit continue to hover over the waters and guide us to renew our face from the earth”.