Representatives of several world religions gathered at the Vatican to sign a joint appeal on climate change, which will be presented to global leaders at the United Nations conference, COP26, in Glasgow in November, urging them to step up their efforts to stop climate change.
Among those present were Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and delegations representing the Russian Orthodox Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church. Judaism, Islam and Buddhism were also represented.
The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, who in 2019 signed the Document on Human Fraternity with Pope Francis, was also in attendance.
Nearly 40 religious figures spoke on behalf of their communities, highlighting the importance of working together to address environmental issues.
“We need this dialogue in order simply to be, simply to breathe, simply to love one another.”
President of COP26
“I think they have a unique voice in being able to talk to their populations, but also to world leaders.”
During the meeting, Pope Francis offered three concepts to guide the reflection on this joint project: openness to interdependence and sharing, the dynamism of love, and the call to respect. But he didn't read the rest of his prepared speech in order to let other people speak.
“To not use up the time needed for everyone to speak, I leave in your hands the transcript. You can read it, and we can continue with this celebration. Thank you.”
Pope Francis then presented the signed appeal to Alok Sharma, President of COP26, and to Luigi Di Maio, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
At the end of the interventions, each person poured soil on the roots of an olive tree that will be planted in the Vatican Gardens. It's a symbol of their individual and collective commitment to care for the environment.
VM / AA