POPE, MAYORS SIGN AGREEMENT TO FIGHT ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE, TRAFFICKING – FRANCIS BLESSES CHURCH’S DAY FOR LIFE IN ENGLAND AND WALES – NEW YORK MAYOR SAYS NYC PAPAL VISIT WILL BE “EXTRAORDINARY”

POPE, MAYORS SIGN AGREEMENT TO FIGHT ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE, TRAFFICKING

Pope Francis and mayors from major cities around the world on Tuesday signed a common declaration of intent to combat environmental damage and human trafficking at the end of the first day of the two-day workshop entitled “Modern Slavery and Climate Change” organized by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, and by the chancellor of the academies, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. (Photo: news.va. ANSA)

POPE MAYORS AGREEMENT

That final agreement states, among other things, that human induced climate change is a scientific reality and it’s effective control is a moral imperative for humanity It also calls for financial incentives to transition to low carbon and renewable energy and to shift public financing away from the military to urgent investments in sustainable development. The agreement notes that political leaders have a special responsibility at the December conference on climate in Paris talks to approve a bold climate agreement that confines of global warming to a safe to a limit say for humanity.

Following are excerpts from that document:

“We the undersigned have assembled at the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences to address two inter-connected dramatic emergencies: human-induced climate change, and social exclusion in the extreme forms of radical poverty, modern slavery and human trafficking.”

“On the basis of the encyclical ‘Laudato si’, we have considered the over-whelming scientific evidence regarding human-induced climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the vulnerability of the poor to economic, social and environmental disasters. In the face of the emergencies attributable to human-induced climate change, social exclusion, and extreme poverty, we join together to declare the following:

“Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity.

“In this core moral space, cities play a very vital role. All of our cultural traditions uphold the inherent dignity and social responsibility of every individual and …. affirm the beauty, wonder and inherent goodness of the natural world, and appreciate that it is a precious gift entrusted to our common care.”

“In spite of having a minimal role in the disruption of the climate, the poor and excluded face dire threats from human-induced climate change, including the increased frequency of droughts, extreme storms, heat waves, and rising sea levels. Today humanity has the technological instruments, the financial resources and the know-how to reverse climate change while also ending extreme poverty, through the application of sustainable development solutions, including the adoption of low-carbon energy systems supported by information and communications technologies.

“The financing of sustainable development….should be bolstered through new incentives for the transition towards low-carbon and renewable energy, and through the relentless pursuit of peace, which also will enable a shift of public financing from military spending to urgent investments for sustainable development.”

“The … climate summit in Paris later this year (COP21) may be the last effective opportunity to negotiate arrangements that keep human-induced warming below 2°C, and aim to stay well below 2°C for safety. .. Political leaders of all UN member States have a special responsibility to agree at COP21 to a bold climate agreement that confines global warming to a limit safe for humanity, while protecting the poor and the vulnerable from ongoing climate change that gravely endangers their lives.”

“As mayors we commit ourselves to building, in our cities and urban settlements, the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reducing their exposure to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters, which foster human trafficking and dangerous forced migration.

“At the same time, we commit ourselves to ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of modern slavery, which are crimes against humanity, including forced labor and prostitution, organ trafficking, and domestic servitude; and to developing national resettlement and reintegration programs that avoid the involuntary repatriation of trafficked persons.”

FRANCIS BLESSES CHURCH’S DAY FOR LIFE IN ENGLAND AND WALES

Pope Francis has sent his good wishes and support to the Catholic Church in England and Wales for this Sunday’s Day for Life, according to a press release from the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales. The Day for Life is the day dedicated to praying for the protection of human life and raising awareness about its meaning and value at every stage and in every condition.

Britain’s Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini received the letter from the Pope and conveyed it to Bishop John Sherrington who heads the Day for Life. The Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing “upon all those persons who are participating in this significant event and working in any way for the promotion of the dignity of every human person from the moment of conception until natural death.”

The Day for Life 2015 focuses on Catholic teaching about appropriate treatment at the end of life. The essential message for the Day is “How do we cherish life while we can and accept death when it comes?”

Over 300,000 postcards will be distributed to parishioners in England and Wales this weekend offering guidance about end of life decisions.

NEW YORK MAYOR SAYS NYC PAPAL VISIT WILL BE “EXTRAORDINARY”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke to reporters about Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to his city, and he had nothing but praise for the Holy Father. In its video, Rome Reports quotes the mayor as saying, “I think the emotion that the people of New York City feel for this Pope is going to manifest itself in the streets of the city. Anywhere he goes, I think you’re going to see a great outpouring of support for him.”

RR writes that, “while he does not practice any religion, the mayor has formed strong bonds with many religious communities in New York. He has become good friends with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and they’ve worked together to prepare for the upcoming trip.”

“I think it’s going to be extraordinary,” said de Blasio of the upcoming visit. There’s tremendous energy in New York City in anticipation of the Pope’s visit. Now, it will happen during our annual U.N. week, so certainly logistically there will be a lot going on, and it’s going to take a huge effort by the city to accommodate both the papal visit and the U.N. week, but we’re ready. We’ve been in preparation now for months.”

The mayor spoke after the first day of the Vatican-sponsored conference for mayors and local officials to discuss climate change and human trafficking. Mayors de Blasio said having the Pope’s moral authority strengthened their work: “Let’s face it, having the support of His Holiness is the most encouraging thing I can think of. It’s the most empowering possibility to have the strongest moral voice in the global today calling us to action.”

The mayors signed a declaration with Pope Francis calling for national leaders to come up with a “bold climate agreement.” For his part, de Blasio also announced that his city intends to cut carbon emissions 40 percent by 2030.