Pope Francis wants Catholics to know environmental damage and global warming are “sins against creation.”
Francis’s announcement, entitled “Show Mercy to our Common Home” appealed for “people of faith and goodwill” to come together in “showing mercy to the earth as our common home and cherishing the world in which we live as a place for sharing and communion.”
Francis defined a sin against creation as humans degrading the integrity of the earth by causing changes in the climate or contaminating earth’s waters, land, air and life.
“To commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God,” the pope said Thursday. “Let us repent of the harm we are doing to our common home.”
Francis’s message directly told the world’s Catholics that they should start “avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, or any number of other practices.”
Francis even blamed global warming for the Syrian Civil War, the rise of Islamic State, and the resulting refugee crisis, saying that “climate change is also contributing to the heart-rending refugee crisis.” The left-leaning fact checking website Politifact ruled a similar attempt by former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders “mostly false” in November.
Francis has been heavily praised by environmentalists last year for writing the encyclical Laudato S, which lays out the supposed moral predicaments associated with environmental degradation. The pontiff heavily praised President Barack Obama last September for “reducing air pollution” and taking the fight against global warming seriously. Francis met with the actor Leonardo DiCaprio in January to discuss the threat global warming poses to the planet.
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