Pope Francis Urges Adoption of ‘Sober’ Lifestyle to Beat Climate Change

Pope Francis wearing a protective face mask, attends an inter-religious prayer service for peace along with other religious representatives in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, a church on top of Rome's Capitoline Hill, on October 20, 2020 in Rome. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREAS …
ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty

ROME — Pope Francis set forth measures to combat the “environmental crisis” Friday, urging Christians to adopt a sober, humble lifestyle.

“Achieving an integral ecology calls for a profound interior conversion on both the personal and communal level,” the pontiff said in a message to an international meeting of members of the Focolari movement on environmental awareness co-sponsored by the Vatican.

“As you examine the great challenges facing us at this time, including climate change, the need for sustainable development and the contribution religion can make to the environmental crisis, it is essential to break with the logic of exploitation and selfishness and to promote the practice of a sober, simple and humble lifestyle,” the pope added.

“It is my hope that your work will serve to cultivate in the hearts of our brothers and sisters a shared responsibility for one another as children of God and a renewed commitment to be good stewards of his gift of creation,” Francis told the participants in the conference.

As he has done on other occasions, the pope linked environmental responsibility with transformation of the economy.

“Among such problems is the urgent need for a new and more inclusive socio-economic paradigm that reflects the truth that we are a single human family, fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, children of the same earth which is our common home,” he said.

“This solidarity with one another and with the world around us demands a firm willingness to develop and implement practical measures that foster the dignity of all persons in their human, family and work relationships, while at the same time combating the structural causes of poverty and working to protect the natural environment,” he added.

Pope Francis has made environmentalism and opposition to climate change a hallmark of his pontificate. In 2015, he became the first pope in history to devote an entire encyclical letter to ecological issues.

In it he railed against climate change, calling it a “global problem with grave implications” and warning that it could bring about “unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us.”

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