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Friday, April 23, 2021

Pope Francis, in Earth Day messages, warns 'we are at the edge' on climate change

Pope Francis, in Earth Day messages, warns 'we are at the edge' on climate change

In twin Earth Day messages, Pope Francis warned a gathering of world leaders and the global community at large that "we are at the edge" with climate change, and the time to take action is now.

The pope made appearances minutes apart during two virtual events marking Earth Day: the international leaders summit on climate organized by President Joe Biden, and the Earth Day Live livestream organized by the Earth Day Network. In both, Francis urged presidents and prime ministers to act courageously in addressing climate change, and to learn from the coronavirus pandemic the need to create "a just, equitable, environmentally safe planet."

"Both the global catastrophes, COVID-19 and climate change, prove that we do not have time to wait," Francis said in a pre-recorded video for Earth Day Live. "Time urges us, and as COVID-19 demonstrated, we do have the tools to face the loss. We have the instruments. This is the moment to act. We are at the edge."

The pope was one of more than three dozen heads of state — from countries that together represent more than 80% of total global greenhouse gas emissions — who took part in the virtual climate summit convened by Biden. 

You can read more of the story here.

More background:


A former cop reckons with unending police killings of Black Americans

Former police officer and current theological ethicist Tobias Winwright wrestles with policing and gun control in a commentary for NCR.

Winwright discusses his past experiences as a police officer in which he writes he was trained to use a gun, but never felt at ease doing so.

"Indeed, it was the emphasis on the use of force in law enforcement that made my conscience, as a follower of Jesus, uneasy, and its exacerbation by racism came to bother me even more," he writes.

"In the Catholic moral tradition, there are resources offering prescriptive guidance for the reforms requisite toward the end of reducing police killings, eliminating disproportionate stops, arrests, and killings of Black persons, and minimizing gun deaths in this country," Winwright continues. "Foundational is the life and dignity of the human person as image of God. This is the basis for the prohibition of direct and intentional killings of innocent human persons, which would be murder. Hence the church's stand against direct abortion and euthanasia."

You can read more of Winwright's commentary here.

More background:

  • Fr. Bryan Massingale says that although the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd felt like vindication, the fear that the jury would reach a different conclusion shows that there is no guarantee of justice for Black people in America.

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