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Vatican welcomes dozens of mayors at conference on climate change and slavery

2015-07-15

The Vatican will be hosting a workshop and symposium next week to discuss how major global cities can help respond to modern slavery and climate change. Dozens of mayors from some of the world's great cities will attend the event.

The bishop who is organizing the conference spoke about the seriousness of modern slavery and human trafficking.

BISHOP MARCELO SÁNCHEZ SORONDO
Chancellor, Pontifical Academy of Sciences
"The first thing we must do is raise awareness of the problem as well as the gravity of the problem. To reiterate, the prostitution we see today is not the prostitution of the brothels of Saint Augustine's day because it is completely inhumane. They sell themselves. A woman's worth is reduced to the services she can render.”

In addition to the mayors, several United Nations officials will also attend the event, because its second major focus is on climate change. The bishop responded to criticisms of being too deeply involved with the UN.

BISHOP MARCELO SÁNCHEZ SORONDO
Chancellor, Pontifical Academy of Sciences
"This is not being organized by the UN. We are organizing this with the UN. Second, the UN is not the devil. Pope Paul VI when he visited the UN told them that they were the path for modern civilization  and we wanted full cooperation with them to the extent that it was possible and as long as it didn't conflict with Church Doctrine. Every Pope who has visited the UN has done this. Now Pope Francis is about to visit the UN. I don't see a problem.”

The event is just the latest move that the Vatican is taking to make sure that the "Laudato Si” encyclical has a tangible impact in the world.

DR. MICHAEL SHANK
Media Consultant
"I just want to note that there is incredible excitement among the mayors. They're very excited, perhaps obviously, to meet the Pope. But most importantly to be bolstered by his endorsement of their work so that then when they return to the cities, hopefully with a picture with the Pope, a conversation with the Pope, they are newly emboldened to do what they already want to do on these social and climate crises. They see this event as critical in that effort.”

The events will take place on July 21st and 22nd at the Vatican. The workshop is called "Modern Slavery and Climate Change: the Commitment of the Cities,” and the symposium is "Prosperity, People, and Planet: Achieving Sustainable Development in Our Cities.”



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