Pope Francis meets with religious leaders and scientists in advance of COP26

4 Oct 2021

Many Christian leaders gathered with Pope Francis in the Vatican this morning 4 October together with representatives of other religions, scientists and experts from around the world for a “Faith and Science: Towards COP26” meeting during which participants signed a joint appeal in view of the forthcoming UN COP26 Climate Conference to be held in Glasgow 1‒12 November.

The Christian leaders included Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (Moscow Patriarchate), Bishop Barnaba El-Soryani (Coptic Orthodox Church), Reverend Professor Ioan Sauca (World Council of Churches), Reverend Dr Martin Junge (Lutheran World Federation), Reverend Christopher Ferguson (World Communion of Reformed Churches), Reverend Bishop Abner Ferreira (Assemblies of God), Reverend David Wells (Pentecostal World Fellowship), and Reverend Professor Thomas Schirrmacher (World Evangelical Alliance).

The participants met to share their concerns and aspirations for greater responsibility for the safeguarding of the planet. In their joint appeal, Pope Francis together with other participants called on all countries to decrease their carbon footprints and to fund the emission reductions of the poorest nations. The signatories declare in unison: “We have inherited a garden: we must not leave a desert to our children”.

In his address at the meeting, Pope Francis expressed gratitude for the presence of the participants, which shows a “desire for a deepened dialogue among ourselves and with scientific experts”. The Holy Father then proposed three concepts to guide their reflection: openness to interdependence and sharing, the dynamism of love, and the call to respect. He stressed in particular that “for Christians, openness to interdependence springs from the very mystery of the Triune God”.

Pope Francis reflected that these three aspects can be the interpretative keys shedding light on common efforts to care for our common home. He concluded that COP26 “represents an urgent summons to provide effective responses to the unprecedented ecological crisis and the crisis of values that we are presently experiencing, and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations.”


Photos © Servizio Fotografico | Vatican Media