Pope Francis Calls Global Warming A ‘Sin’
Pope Francis today proposed that caring for the environment be added to the traditional seven works of mercy that Christians are called to perform.
The Pope took his green agenda to a new level by supplementing Jesus’ call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the sick with his own call for recycling, carpooling and conserving electricity.
He said the faithful should ask forgiveness for the ‘sins’ against the environment that have been committed by the ‘irresponsible, selfish’ and profit-motivated economic and political system.
He called for all of humanity to take concrete steps to change course, starting with repaying what he called the ‘ecological debt’ that wealthy countries owe the poor.
‘Repaying (the debt) would require treating the environments of poorer nations with care and providing the financial resources and technical assistance needed to help them deal with climate change and promote sustainable development,’ he wrote.
On a smaller, individual scale, recycling, turning off the lights and carpooling can also help, he said.
Finally, he proposed that caring for the environment be added as a ‘complement’ to the seven spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
He made the ambitious proposal in a message to mark the church’s World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, which he instituted last year in a bid to highlight his ecological concerns.
This year, the day of prayer for the planet falls during the Pope’s Holy Year of Mercy, a year-long focus on the church’s merciful side.
Throughout the year, the faithful have been urged to practice the seven corporal and seven spiritual works of mercy, which were first outlined in the Gospel and have been articulated over centuries by philosophers and theologians.
In addition to the corporal acts of mercy, the spiritual ones include counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant and praying to God for the living and dead.
Terrence Ward, author of the book ‘The Guardian of Mercy’ and a panelist at the Vatican launch of the new document, said the works of mercy the Pope is asking people to perform are ‘not about changing the world tomorrow.’
Rather, they’re about changing mindsets and performing even small actions – such as turning off the lights. Doing so, he said, shows reverence for the miracle of life and creation and actually allows for all the other works of mercy to follow.
‘To give polluted water to someone who is thirsty doesn’t make sense,’ he said. ‘Clean the water up first.’