Pope Francis Prays for Quick End to Amazon Fires

Pope Francis (C) leaves after his weekly general audience, in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican on August 7, 2019. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

ROME — Pope Francis invoked prayers for firefighting efforts in the Brazilian Amazon on Sunday, saying the region is “vital” for the future of the earth.

“We are all worried about the vast fires that have developed in the Amazon,” the pontiff told pilgrims gathered in the Vatican’s Saint Peter’s Square for his weekly Angelus prayer.

“Let us pray that, with the commitment of everyone, they may be brought under control as quickly as possible,” he said. “That lung of forests is vital for our planet.”

Critics have been quick to blame the fires, or at least their spread, on Brazil’s populist president Jair Bolsonaro, who has been an opponent of climate alarmism, deriding the president as a “tropical Trump.”

In December 2018, Brazil’s foreign minister Ernesto Araújo said his “main mission” in office is to combat the Marxist ideology of the preceding regime, including “climate alarmism” and abortion.

Araújo said putting an end to Marxist ideology in Brazil’s foreign policy is “the main mission that the president has entrusted to me” in an op-ed published in the Gazeta do Povo newspaper.

According to Araújo, the Workers’ Party (PT), which ruled Brazil for 13 years under Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, turned the country’s foreign policy into a tool to spread Marxist ideology, whereas the mission of the new administration is to dismantle that apparatus.

In another post, Araújo said the “dogma” of the climate change lobby “has served to justify increasing the regulatory power of states over the economy and the power of international institutions over national states and their populations, as well as to stifle economic growth in democratic capitalist countries and foster China’s growth.”

This week, French President Emmanuel Macron said he believes that President Bolsonaro lied to him at the G20 summit earlier this year regarding Brazil’s stance on climate change, warning that France could now block a trade deal between the EU and South American nations.

“Given the attitude of Brazil over the last weeks, the president can only conclude that President Bolsonaro lied to him at the Osaka summit,” a French presidential spokesman said Friday.

The official said Brazil’s behavior over the last weeks showed that Bolsonaro did not intend to respect obligations on climate change.

“Under these conditions, France will oppose the Mercosur (Free Trade Agreement with the EU) as it stands,” the official said.

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