WE MUST NOT FAIL TO BE FAITHFUL STEWARDS OF GOD’S CREATION
In a letter to the Catholics of Scotland, released on Thursday, Pope Francis prayed for “wisdom and strength” for leaders at the COP26 meeting on the environment, warning that “this occasion must not be wasted, lest we have to face God’s judgment for our failure to be faithful stewards of the world He has entrusted to our care. …Time is running out.”</strong
Pope Francis expressed his regret at being unable to attend the Conference in Scotland and to meet with Scottish Catholics. However, he said, he was grateful to the faithful for “joining in prayer for my intentions and for the fruitful outcome” of the meeting, which is facing one of “the great moral issues of our time: the preservation of God’s creation, given to us as a garden to be cultivated and as a common home for our human family.”
In his letter dated November 9, the Holy Father noted that on that date, “we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica which, as the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, symbolizes the Church’s communion in faith and charity with the See of Peter. It is deeply moving to me that on this day I can express to you, and to all the Catholics of Scotland, my affection in the Lord and my encouragement to persevere in your proven fidelity to the Lord and his Church. I greet each of you from my heart, and I assure you of my prayers for you and your families, for the young, the elderly, the sick and those who in any way are suffering the effects of the pandemic.”
In these challenging times, he said, “may all Christ’s followers in Scotland renew their commitment to be convincing witnesses to the joy of the Gospel and its power to bring light and hope to every effort to build a future of justice, fraternity and prosperity, both material and spiritual.”
HOLY SEE: MAY COP26 DECISIONS “TRULY RESPOND TO THE CRY OF THE EARTH AND THE CRY OF THE POOR”
The Holy See Press Office, early Thursday evening, released the Holy See statement on COP26:
“The Holy See Delegation has brought the concerns of Pope Francis for our common home before the participants of the COP26, emphasizing the human face of the climate crisis, its impact on the poorest and those who have done the least to cause it.
“The ambitious commitments made by States to limit the rise of the global average temperature to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and to provide the needed financial resources to do so are promising and indeed essential for the survival of the most vulnerable communities.
(Vaticannews file photo: An activist outside the venue in Glasgow where the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference is taking place (AFP or licensors))
“The Holy See Delegation appreciates the commitments that States have made in their pledges. While there is more to be done, it is important to be proactive in finding effective ways to implement the pledges made.
“During these two weeks, various “gaps” have emerged in the fields of mitigation, adaptation and financing. The resources made available for these three aspects, which are fundamental for achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement, will need to be strengthened and renewed in order to achieve these goals. The Holy See hopes that COP26 can reach an agreement on a clear roadmap to close these gaps soon, with developed countries taking the lead.
“The issue of loss and damage is particularly critical to those communities that are most vulnerable to climate change, as was also recognized in the joint appeal by faith leaders and scientists on 4th October. Pope Francis has clearly emphasized the ecological debt and the solidarity that industrialized countries owe to the poor (Laudato Si’, n. 51 and 52).
“The Holy See Delegation hopes that the final decisions of this Conference may be inspired by a genuine sense of responsibility towards present and future generations, as well as the care of our common home, and that these decisions may truly respond to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor (Laudato Si’, n. 49). “Time is running out: this occasion must not be wasted.” (Letter of Pope Francis to the Catholics of Scotland).”