Pope Francis has called for urgent action to stop climate change and proposed that caring for the environment be added to traditional Christian works of mercy such as feeding the hungry and visiting the sick, the Guardian reports
In a message to mark the Catholic church’s World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation that he launched last year, Francis said the worst impact of global warming was being felt by those who were least responsible for it – refugees and the poor.
Francis described man’s destruction of the environment as a sin and accused mankind of turning the planet into a “polluted wasteland full of debris, desolation and filth”.
“Global warming continues,” the pope said. “2015 was the warmest year on record, and 2016 will likely be warmer still. This is leading to ever more severe droughts, floods, fires and extreme weather events.
“Climate change is also contributing to the heart-rending refugee crisis. The world’s poor, though least responsible for climate change, are most vulnerable and already suffering its impact. ”
The pope said the faithful should use the Holy Year of Mercy throughout 2016 to ask forgiveness for sins committed against the environment and our “selfish” system motivated by “profit at any price”.
He called for care for the environment to be added to the seven spiritual works of mercy outlined in the Gospel that the faithful are asked to perform throughout the pope’s year of mercy in 2016.