On D.C. Visit, Pope Francis Calls for Unity on Climate Action
One of the biggest challenges facing the climate movement in America has been the lack of political will to take meaningful action. While the Obama administration, many state and local governments, and the majority of the population support aggressive measures to tackle climate change, many members of Congress have voiced opposition to climate solutions.
This week, in his addresses at the White House and before Congress, Pope Francis called for unity and solidarity on facing this challenge. At the White House, he stressed the urgency of acting on climate, and added, “Humanity has the ability to work together in building our common home.”
Before Congress, the Pope spoke more directly about the responsibilities of government, reminding members of Congress that they are called to act for the common good, and that legislative activity is based on care for the people. He stated his belief that Congress has an important role to play in addressing climate change, and asked them to support one another as a matter of conscience. In his words, “The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States.”
In his D.C. addresses and his groundbreaking encyclical, the pope has repeatedly stressed our moral obligation to act on climate change. Around the time this post publishes on Friday, he will be speaking before the U.N., and will likely repeat this same theme. Regardless of religious beliefs or political affiliation, we all share a desire to protect the vulnerable among us, care for our loved ones, and provide a healthy world for future generations. With Pope Francis and other leaders explaining how climate solutions support those values, the moral argument for unified action grows stronger by the day.
By Paul Singer, contributor to USA TODAY
In the first-ever papal address to a joint meeting of Congress, Pope Francis on Thursday called on Americans to embrace immigrants from Latin America and around the world.
“Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the second World War,” the pope said, including “thousands of persons (who) are led to travel north in search of a better life.
“We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation,” Francis said in a 45-minute speech. “To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome.”
Speaking slowly in English before a packed House chamber including the assembled members of Congress and hundreds of dignitaries and reporters, the Argentine pope said, “We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us once were foreigners.”
Image credit: Andrew P. Scott, USA TODAY)