ROME — Pope Francis engaged former U.S. President Bill Clinton via zoom Monday, stressing the urgency of addressing the climate change “catastrophe,” the migration “crisis,” and war.
The pope reiterated his intention of releasing a second document on the environment later this month, eight years after the publication of his encyclical “Laudato Sì” on the same theme.
In late August, Francis said it is time world leaders to “listen to science and institute a rapid and equitable transition to end the era of fossil fuel.”
It is “absurd to permit the continued exploration and expansion of fossil fuel infrastructures,” he declared in his message for the September 1 Feast of Creation. “Let us raise our voices to halt this injustice towards the poor and towards our children, who will bear the worst effects of climate change.”
“The unrestrained burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests are pushing temperatures higher and leading to massive droughts,” the pope stated, a product of “consumerist greed, fueled by selfish hearts.”
Moreover, he contended, “predatory industries are depleting and polluting our freshwater sources through extreme practices such as fracking for oil and gas extraction, unchecked mega-mining projects, and intensive animal farming.”
Moreover, “richer nations have contracted an ‘ecological debt’ that must be paid” to poorer nations, he added.
In the pope’s video meeting with Mr. Clinton, he also spoke of the migration “crisis,” urging his hearers to remember that migrants are not numbers, but people.
“When we think of migration, let’s think of the eyes of the children we find in refugee camps,” he said.
Earlier this summer, Pope Francis received Mr. Clinton in a private audience in the Vatican’s Santa Marta residence. Clinton was accompanied by Alex Soros, son of billionaire George Soros.
The 37-year-old Soros, who recently took control of the multi-billion-dollar OSF, spent the Fourth of July in Albania with Clinton.
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