Pope to COP26 "We owe it to young people, to future generations who deserve all our commitment to be able to live and hope." FULL TEXT





Paul VI Hall - Saturday, 9 October 2021


Ladies and Gentlemen!

I welcome you and thank Mrs. Casellati and Mr. Fico for their kind words.

A few days ago, on October 4, I had the pleasure of meeting with various religious leaders and scientists to sign a joint Appeal for COP26. The " awareness  - I quote from the Appeal - of the unprecedented challenges that threaten us and life in our magnificent common home, [... and] of the need for an ever  more deep solidarity  in the face of the global pandemic and the growing concern "for it"


 ( Faith and Science: Towards COP26  - Joint Appeal , 4 October 2021).

On this occasion, animated by a spirit of fraternity, we were able to perceive a strong convergence of all the different voices in expressing two aspects. On the one hand, the pain for the serious damage done to the human family and its common home; on the other hand, the urgent need to initiate a change of course capable of moving with decision and conviction from the throwaway culture  , prevalent in our society, to a culture of  care .

It is a demanding and complex challenge, but humanity has the means to face this transformation, which requires a real conversion and the firm will to undertake it. It requires this in particular of those called to positions of great responsibility in the various areas of society.

In the Joint Appeal that we have signed, and which I ideally entrust to you by handing it to the Presidents of the two Houses of the Italian Parliament, numerous commitments appear that we intend to assume in the field of action and example, as well as in that of education. In fact, we are facing an important  educational challenge , because "every change needs an educational path to bring about a new universal solidarity and a more welcoming society" ( Message for the launch of the Educational Pact ,  12 September 2019). A challenge in favor of an education in integral ecology to which we, representatives of religions, are strongly committed.

At the same time, an appeal is made to governments to rapidly adopt a path that limits the increase in the global average temperature and give impetus to courageous actions, also strengthening international cooperation. Specifically, calls are made to promote the transition to clean energy; adopt sustainable land use practices while preserving forests and biodiversity; promote food systems that respect the environment and local cultures; carry out the fight against hunger and malnutrition; support sustainable lifestyles, consumption and production.

It is about the transition towards a more integral and integral development model, based on solidarity and responsibility; a transition during which the effects it will have on the world of work must also be carefully considered.

In this challenge, everyone has their own role, and that of parliamentarians is particularly significant, I would say decisive. A change of course as demanding as the one we have before us requires great wisdom, far-sightedness and a sense of the common good, fundamental virtues of good politics. You parliamentarians, as the main actors of legislative activity, have the task of guiding behavior through the various instruments offered by law, "which establishes the rules for conduct permitted in the light of the common good" (Encyclical letter  Laudato si ' , 177) and on the basis of other cardinal principles, such as the dignity of the human person, solidarity and subsidiarity (cf  Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 160ss). The care of our common home naturally falls within the scope of these principles. Obviously, it is not just a question of discouraging and sanctioning bad practices, but also and above all of encouraging and stimulating new paths more suited to the goal to be achieved. These are essential aspects for achieving the objectives set out in the Paris Agreement and contributing to the positive outcome of COP26.

I therefore hope that your demanding work, in view of COP26, and even after it, will be illuminated by two important "beacons": the beacon of  responsibility  and the beacon of  solidarity . We owe it to young people, to future generations who deserve all our commitment to be able to live and hope. For this, we need urgent, wise and just laws, which overcome the narrow fences of many political circles and can reach an adequate consensus as soon as possible and make use of reliable and transparent means.

Thanks again for your visit! God bless you, your families and your work.

Source: Vatican.va