Catholic World News

Pope rallies mayors against climate change, human trafficking at Vatican conference

July 22, 2015

Laudato Si’ is not an encyclical on climate change, but a social encyclical, Pope Francis said in a July 21 address to 70 mayors, representing cities around the world, who were gathered for a Vatican conference on climate change and human trafficking.

The Pope explained, in an unscripted address, that his encyclical links the issues of climate change, poverty, and human rights. “Because we cannot separate care for the environment from the social context, the social life of mankind,” he said.

Pope Francis said that he hopes the coming negotiations in Paris will lead to effective action on climate change, and added that the UN should be involved in that effort as well as efforts to stop human trafficking. He encouraged the mayors to be involved in their own cities.

The Vatican conference, organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences under the direction of Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, culminated in a statement signed by the Pope and the mayors, calling for action to address climate change and stop human trafficking.

The public statement said that there is “overwhelming scientific evidence regarding human-induced climate change,” and “its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity.” The mayors observed that the poor face the greatest harms as a result of climate change, although they bear little responsibility for the problem.

During the 2-day conference at the Vatican, several speakers decried efforts to question the evidence of climate change. California Governor Jerry Brown claimed that in the US, powerful interests use their money and influence “to keep from office people such as yourselves and elect troglodytes and other deniers of the obvious science.” Bishop Sanchez Sorondo had earlier made a similar charge, saying that resistance to the universal acceptance of climate change as a reality was largely the result of lobbying by wealthy American corporate interests.

The mayors’ statement also included a pledge to work against human trafficking. “At the same time, we commit ourselves to ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of modern slavery, which are crimes against humanity, including forced labor and prostitution, organ trafficking, and domestic servitude,” the statement said.

In his address to the conference on Tuesday, Pope Francis warned against reliance on “technocracy” as a solution to problems of poverty. That attitude, he said, has caused a rise in unemployment, particularly among young people.

The Pope called attention particularly to the environmental problems caused by deforestation and by mining. Mining, he said, is too often associated with human-rights abuses and with use of dangerous techniques and harmful chemicals. The degradation of the environment by these activities, the Pope said, causes many people to leave their homes, thus feeding into the mass migrations that give rise to human trafficking.

 


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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: garedawg - Jul. 24, 2015 10:51 AM ET USA

    If man-made global warming does turn out to be a fact, then those of us of conservative bent will be humbled by the left-wingers. It might be good for us.

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Jul. 23, 2015 9:24 AM ET USA

    Does Pope Francis even care that his guests from the U.S. -- Gerry Brown, De Blasio -- are among the greatest offenders of human degradation & trafficking via Planned Parenthood?

  • Posted by: Thomas429 - Jul. 23, 2015 12:26 AM ET USA

    Yes, every human being should be opposed to human trafficking. That is a no brainer. But, the current proposals to curb global climate change will be disastrous for the poor and ill nourished. The science is not settled! The fact that they are now resorting to calling it "Climate Change" ought to be a clue.

  • Posted by: rpp - Jul. 22, 2015 4:44 PM ET USA

    I find it interesting that in studying the guest list, only left-wingers and communists were present. Not a single politically moderate or conservative mayor or lawmaker was invited. It can make a person wonder.

  • Posted by: shrink - Jul. 22, 2015 11:59 AM ET USA

    So LS is not about climate change, but it begins and ends with the CRISIS of climate change which will make the entire world a sewer. Hmmm. We are to be wary of technocracy, BUT, technocracy will be necessary to solve the problems of climate change. We are to act locally, BUT, the UN super bureaucracy holds the keys to solving the problem of climate change. My head spins. But, never fear, Jerry Brown, defender of Planned Parenthood, will lead the way to….. the word FARCE comes to mind.