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Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Bangui, Central African Republic, to Rome Nov. 30. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See story to come.

Pope fears global ‘suicide’ if world leaders fail to agree on climate change

Ecology and religious fundamentalism dominate press conference on plane home from Africa, as Pontiff admits he feels ‘old’

Pope Francis believes the world faces ‘suicide’ if global leaders do not take strong action against climate change.

“Every year, the problems are more grave,” the Holy Father told the press on his flight back to the Vatican after visiting Africa, adding that politicians have so far ‘done little’ to address the situation.

Recounting a meeting he had participated in that focused on what kind of world we are leaving our children, the Pope said someone there had asked: “But are you sure that there will be children of this generation?”

“We are at the limit,” the Pope said. “”We are at the limit of a suicide, to say a strong word I am sure that almost all who are in Paris … have this awareness and want to do something.”

“I have trust; I have trust that these [leaders] will do something. Because I would say I am sure they have the good will to do it. And I wish that it will be so, and I pray for this.”

The Pope was speaking yesterday in a nearly hour-long press conference aboard the papal plane traveling back to Rome from Africa, where the he visited Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic. He was answering a question about the ongoing UN Climate Conference, which is bringing together hundreds of world leaders in Paris through early December to discuss solutions to climate change.

 

Fundamentalism is a sickness that is in all religions We Catholics have some—and not some, many—who believe in the absolute truth and go ahead dirtying the other with calumny, with disinformation, and doing evil.

He also spoke out strongly again against religious fundamentalism, saying that fundamentalism exists in all religions and should be combatted with efforts at friendship, saying he prefers not to speak of having tolerance for other religious, but ‘living together, friendship.’

“Fundamentalism is a sickness that is in all religions,” the Pope said. “We Catholics have some—and not some, many—who believe in the absolute truth and go ahead dirtying the other with calumny, with disinformation, and doing evil. They do evil, I say this because it is my church. We have to combat it. Religious fundamentalism is not religious, because it lacks God. It is idolatry, like the idolatry of money.”

In summarising the most moving moments of his trip to Africa—which saw the pontiff visit slums and refugee camps, celebrate several open-air Masses to crowds in the hundreds of thousands, and speak to the U.N. offices in Nairobi—he spoke most about the suffering faced by many on the continent but he has also emphasised the kind and joyous welcome he felt in each of the three nations he visited.

“For me, Africa was a surprise,” he said. “I thought God surprises, but Africa also surprises.”

The Pope also said that Africa has been abused by many countries of the world. Asked if he might make another trip to Africa, the Pope laughed.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I am old! The trips are a heavy weight.”

 

—ian@sconews.co.uk

 

 

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