A few weeks ago, Archbishop Justin, Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew issued a powerful and historic joint statement on the environment as part of the preparations for COP 26.
Their joint statement was followed on 4 October by a gathering of faith leaders from across the world in the Vatican and the issuing of a new joint statement by all the world’s religions: Faith and Science: an appeal for COP 26. The appeal was presented to COP26 President-Designate, the Rt Hon Alok Sharma, and the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Luigi Di Maio
Again this is a remarkable common statement issued at a critical time. Leaders from the great faith traditions have recognised the crisis which faces our common home. Together, the faith leaders have spoken to the whole world appealing for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; improve financial support for fighting climate change and preserving biodiversity.
The wisdom of the faiths is combined with the insights of the sciences. They call for great ambition at the COP 26 gathering, which is now just days away.
But the faith leaders are not simply asking governments to do something. They recognise that the followers of religious traditions have a crucial part to play in addressing the crisis of our common home. So they commit to much more serious action and to recognising our obligation to future generations, to the poorest who are suffering most, and to young people: exactly the course we have set as a diocese.
These are some of the final, powerful paragraphs:
We are currently at a moment of opportunity and truth. We pray that our human family may unite to save our common home before it is too late. Future generations will never forgive us if we squander this precious opportunity. We have inherited a garden: we must not leave a desert to our children.
Scientists have warned us that there might be only one decade left to restore the planet.
We plead with the international community, gathered at COP26, to take speedy, responsible and shared action to safeguard, restore and heal our wounded humanity and the home entrusted to our stewardship.
We appeal to everyone on this planet to join us on this common journey, knowing well that what we can achieve depends not only on opportunities and resources, but also on hope, courage, solidarity and good will.
Please take a moment to read the statement in full, and please continue to pray for COP 26 that it may truly be a turning point for the world.
Creator of our common home
Hear the cry of the earth
Our world stands in great peril
Many are suffering
We have put at risk our present and our future
through the rapid warming of the earth and the careless destruction of its beauty
Give to the leaders of the world fresh hope and courage
As they gather for COP 26
Unite us all in a common mission to heal and cherish our environment
And steward the resources of our world for future generations
May this conference be a turning point in human history
For the sake of all the peoples of the earth.
Britain’s COP26 President Alok Sharma speaks during the “Faith and Science: Towards COP26” meeting with Pope Francis and other religious leaders ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November in Britain, at the Vatican, October 4, 2021. – Vatican Media Handout