The heads of the Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican Churches are directing their flocks to pray for the upcoming UN summit.
For the first time in history, the three most influential Christian leaders in the world have released a joint statement. The missive, “A Joint Message for the Protection of Creation,” was signed by Pope Francis, Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Together, the trio are responsible for the religious guidance of about 1.6 billion Christians.
According to Reuters, the message asked Christians of all three churches to pray for those attending the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow. The Christian leaders urged world leaders to “listen to the cry of the earth,” when determining what actions to take. The appeal stated:
“We call on everyone, whatever their belief or world view, to endeavor to listen to the cry of the earth and of people who are poor, examining their behavior and pledging meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the earth which God has given us.”
The statement went on to cite world-wide extreme weather events and natural disasters to highlight the urgency of the environmental crisis. They note that climate change is not just a problem for the future. Rather, the Christian leaders called it “an immediate and urgent matter of survival.”
The upcoming UN summit, COP26, is scheduled to take place in November 2021. Pope Francis, who recently underwent a successful surgery, has confirmed that he will attend.According to ABC News, the conference may be delayed due to COVID-19, but there have not been any cancellations as of yet.
The Vatican plans to host a gathering of world religious leaders and scientists to discuss the environment ahead of COP26. Called “Faith and Science: Towards COP26,” the event will take place on October 4. This conference is expected to begin the conversation that will be taken up by the UN. The joint statement reflected on topics that will be covered in this Vatican meeting:
“We stand before a harsh justice: biodiversity loss, environmental degradation and climate change are the inevitable consequences of our actions, since we have greedily consumed more of the earth’s resources than the planet can endure,” the message said.