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Pope Francis: The world needs an ecological ‘conversion’

Vatican City, Jun 8, 2019 / 12:12 pm (CNA).- The world needs an ecological “conversion” in order to manifest the Church’s vision of an integral human ecology, Pope Francis said in an address to a conference on the social teaching of the Church.

“...the word ‘conversion’ assumes a special importance in our present situation. Adequate responses to current problems cannot be superficial. Rather, what is needed is precisely a conversion, a ‘turning around’, that is, a transformation of hearts and minds,” Pope Francis said on Saturday, June 8.

“Striving to overcome problems such as hunger and food insecurity, persistent social and economic distress, the degradation of ecosystems, and a ‘culture of waste’ calls for a renewed ethical vision, one that places persons at the center, desiring to leave no one on the margins of life,” he added.

The Holy Father spoke on the topic of Laudato Si and an integral ecology to the annual gathering of the International Conference of the Centesimus Annus pro Pontifice Foundation, which gathered in Rome.

The foundation is named after the ninth encyclical by Pope John Paul II, which addressed the social teaching of the Church, particularly in regard to workers and the economy, and the relationship of the state to society.

For their conference this year, the foundation chose ‘Laudato Si’, the 2015 environmental encyclical by Pope Francis, as its topic of discussion.

Pope Franics reminded the group that the work of building up a person-centered, integral ecology is both a “call and a task.”

“It is a call to rediscover our identity as sons and daughters of our heavenly Father who have been created in the divine image and commissioned to be stewards of the earth; re-created through the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and sanctified by the gift of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

“Such an identity is God’s gift to every person and even to creation itself, made new by the life-giving grace of the Lord’s death and resurrection. In this light, our call to solidarity as brothers and sisters and to a shared responsibility for our common home becomes increasingly urgent.”

The task, he said, is to change “models of global development” to those that “promote economic, environmental and social solidarity and sustainability within a more humane economy which considers not only the satisfaction of immediate desires but also the welfare of future generations.”

While there is much work to be done, the Pope pointed to some signs of growth in these areas - “the adoption, by many nations, of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Organization; a growing investment in renewable and sustainable energy sources; new methods of energy efficiency; and a greater sensitivity, especially among young people, to ecological concerns.”

He added that Christians dedicated to the task of creating a better, more integral ecology must remember that their hope is in the Lord.

“He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward. Praise be to him!”

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