||Home > Church > 17/12/2009 15.52.49
Pope: "Courage and Sacrifice Necessary for Climate Change Pact"
(17 Dec 09 - RV) On Thursday Pope Benedict XVI received a group of ambassadors from Africa, Asia and Northern Europe who presented the Holy Father with their letters of credence...
The new ambassadors to the Holy See come from Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, Kazakhstan and Bangladesh, Denmark, Finland and Latvia.
Pope Benedict XVI gave each of them a personal message for their nation and then addressed them as a group in French. For the second time this week, following on from his message for the World Day for Peace published Tuesday, the Holy Father revealed his overriding concern for the protection of the environment.
Pope Benedict again repeated the need to restore a proper relationship between man and creation and for a conversion to a human ecology. He said “environmental responsibility can not be separated from” the need to end the “scandal of poverty and hunger”, because the continued degradation of the environment is a direct threat to human survival”, and as a consequence to peace.
He continued that “more determined commitments must be made both individually and politically”, above all through “binding international agreements that are effective and fair to all”.
The Popes comments come as over 300 world leaders descend on the Danish city of Copenhagen for the final stages of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in an attempt to reach consensus on a binding agreement for emissions targets.
In his message to the new ambassador from Denmark, Pope Benedict said: “while some consensus can undoubtedly be reached” through the elaboration of shared aspirations, policies and targets, “fundamental change – individual or collective – requires conversion of heart”.
For this reason we need “courage and sacrifice, fruits of an ethical awakening, enable us to envisage a better world”, because when the “moral tenor of society” declines the “challenges facing today’s leaders can only increase”.
Bangladesh is one of the nations worst hit by climate change and wrought by poverty that undermines social stability. In his address to Bangladesh’s new ambassador, Pope Benedict praised the initiatives taken by the government to alleviate poverty through micro-financing small businesses and greater access to education, a field that the nation’s tiny Catholic minority are active in. But he also noted the scourge of intimidation and violence, present in Bangladeshi society which he writes “erode the very basis of social harmony and must be decried as offensive to human life and freedom”. In his general discourse Pope Benedict reflected on the role religions play in promoting, society, the environment and peace.
Pope Benedict said it is true that in history, religions have often been a source of conflict. But it is also true that religion lived by its very essence was and is a force for reconciliation and peace, because for “people of faith” and “good will, the resolution of human conflict”, such as the delicate coexistence of different religions “may be transformed into a human coexistence” which has its “origin and dynamism in God”. This coexistence in respect of the nature of things is called peace.
Peace was at the heart of the Pope’s message to Sudan. In it he writes that : “the Holy See was profoundly gratified at the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement four years ago which ended a tragic period of immense suffering, loss of life and destruction. The expectations generated by this agreement, contracted by important parties within the country and with the support of the international community, must be kept alive”.
In this context, continued the Pope “it must be noted that the people of Darfur continue to suffer greatly. Negotiated agreements between armed groups have been slow and faltering and are in urgent need of support from all sides. Respect for civilian populations and their basic human rights, and responsibilities in relation to national and regional stability clearly require renewed attempts to seek lasting agreements”.
Pope Benedict’s parting words to the ambassadors from the 8 nations was that its time for a global restructuring, both temporal and spiritual, which will allow a “fresh start toward the universal peace that God wants”.