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Pope, Orthodox patriarch urge action against climate change

Pope, Orthodox patriarch urge action against climate change

They underscored how the planet's deterioration weighed upon the most vulnerable and how climate change's impact mainly affected those living in poverty.

For the first time, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew send a joint message on the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, held every September 1.

This year marks the first time that Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the head of the Eastern Orthodox Church, have issued a statement together for this particular day of prayer.

"The urgent call and challenge to care for creation are an invitation for all of humanity to work towards sustainable and integral development", it continued.

Pope Francis is urging world leaders to "listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor" and take measures to protect the environment.

In the interviews, Francis also blasted priests who are "are rigid and afraid to communicate", likely a reference to internal critics who disapprove of what they percieve as his liberal leadership of the Church, whose adherents number an estimated 2.2 billion.

The joint message was not addressed to any specific world leaders.

The earth was entrusted to us as a "sublime gift and legacy", which gives us all a shared responsibility in its care, it continues.

However, the message continued, our attitude and behavior towards creation has over time obscured our calling as God's "co-operators".

The history of the world "reveals a morally decaying scenario where our attitude and behaviour towards creation obscures our calling as God's co-operators", the two prelates declare, and as a result humans have become "alienated" from the original goal of creation.

The faith leaders also point to "climate change" as the source of numerous ecological woes afflicting the planet.

What underlies the problem, the two Church leaders argue, is humanity's alienation from the natural world; where creation is no longer seen as a shared gift but a private possession.

In the midst of the present ecological crisis of climate change and global warming, we place our trust in the Lord who 'makes all things new.' (Rev. 21:5) It is through prayer we ask God for HIs grace and assistance.

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