Leaders of the Catholic Church are calling for a dialogue and action on climate change.
As Vatican City became the most recent country to join the 2015 environmental accords of the Paris Agreement, the Holy See hosted the premier of a new documentary, The Letter: A Message for Our Earth. This film, which features Pope Francis, is a vehicle to convey the messages of the pope’s 2015 environmental encyclical, Laudato Si.
According to Variety, the film was made by Emmy-winning director Nicolas Brown and the production company Off The Fence, which won an Oscar for the documentary My Octopus Teacher.Brown reportedly collaborated with the Laudato Si Movement, a global Catholic organization that concerns itself with climate change, and the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication.
Speaking to Vatican News, Cardinal Michael Czerny hailed the film for its inclusion of “remarkable leaders” from the peripheries. These figures who appear in the documentary include an Indigenous leader, a climate refugee, a youth activist, and a group of scientists. Of the powerful personal witness to climate change provided by these individuals, Cardinal Czerny said:
“The time is over for speculation, for skepticism and denial, for irresponsible populism.” Instead, the challenges humanity faces in caring for our common home must be resolved together. The film The Letter, he said, provides a pathway for the “encounter and dialogue” called for by Pope Francis in Laudato si’. “This beautiful film,” Cardinal Czerny concluded, “heartbreaking yet hopeful, is a clarion cry to people everywhere: Wake up! Get serious! Meet! Act together! Act now!”
In a separate article, Vatican News reported the successful premiere of The Letter in the Vatican’s New Synod Hall on October 4. The event was held on the same day that the Vatican formally entered into the Paris Agreement, along with the release of the documentary on YouTube Originals, featured above.
At the Vatican screening, Cardinal Pietro Parolin called for prayers to entrust the environment to the intercession of St. Francis, as well as appealing to those present for more concrete action on addressing climate change. The prelate said:
“We need to promote and encourage international cooperation now more than ever, particularly at a time when multilateralism is in jeopardy and issues like climate change and the promotion of integral ecology risk being overshadowed by our inability to seek authentic dialogue and consensus.”