VATICAN CITY – The head of the Roman Catholic Church and the patriarch of Constantinople on Friday issued a joint message urging world leaders to take action against climate change and environmental destruction on occasion of the World Day of Prayer for Creation.
Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said in their missive that human dignity and welfare were deeply connected to the care for the whole of creation, but they were now imperiled by actions that have led to the deterioration of the planet’s natural environment.
“We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized, but above all to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation,” read the joint statement.
The two ecclesiastic leaders cited as factors for humanity’s alienation from the original purpose of creation the propensity to interrupt the world’s “delicate and balanced” ecosystems and an “insatiable desire” to manipulate and control the planet’s limited resources, as well as the “greed for limitless profit” in markets.
They underscored how the planet’s deterioration weighed upon the most vulnerable and how climate change’s impact mainly affected those living in poverty.
“The urgent call and challenge to care for creation are an invitation for all of humanity to work towards sustainable and integral development,” the letter added.
“We are convinced that there can be no sincere and enduring resolution to the challenge of the ecological crisis and climate change unless the response is concerted and collective, unless the responsibility is shared and accountable, unless we give priority to solidarity and service,” the Catholic pontiff and the Eastern Orthodox dignitary said in their message’s conclusion.