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Apostolic Movement

Pope Francis publishes Apostolic Exhortation “Laudate Deum”

By: Vatican News

“Praise God’ is the title of this letter. For when human beings claim to take God’s place, they become their own worst enemies”. That’s how Pope Francis ends his new Apostolic Exhortation, published on the 4th October, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi.

It’s a text in continuity with his 2015 encyclical Laudato si’, which is broader in scope. In six chapters and 73 paragraphs, the Successor of Peter tries to clarify and bring to completion that previous text on integral ecology, while at the same time sounding an alarm, and a call for co-responsibility, in the face of the climate emergency.

In particular, the Exhortation looks ahead to COP28, which will be held in Dubai between the end of November and beginning of December.

The Holy Father writes: “With the passage of time, I have realized that our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point. In addition to this possibility, it is indubitable that the impact of climate change will increasingly prejudice the lives and families of many persons” (2).

It’s “one of the principal challenges facing society and the global community” and “the effects of climate change are borne by the most vulnerable people, whether at home or around the world” (3).

Signs of climate change increasingly evident

The first chapter is dedicated to the global climate crisis. “Despite all attempts to deny, conceal, gloss over or relativize the issue, the signs of climate change are here and increasingly evident,” says the Pope.

He goes on to observe that “in recent years we have witnessed extreme weather phenomena, frequent periods of unusual heat, drought and other cries of protest on the part of the earth”, a “silent disease that affects everyone.”

Moreover, Pope Francis says, “it is verifiable that specific climate changes provoked by humanity are notably heightening the probability of extreme phenomena that are increasingly frequent and intense.”

Now, the Holy Father explains, if global temperature increases by more than two degrees, “the icecaps of Greenland and a large part of Antarctica will melt completely, with immensely grave consequences for everyone” (5).

Speaking of those who play down climate change, he responds: “what we are presently experiencing is an unusual acceleration of warming, at such a speed that it will take only one generation – not centuries or millennia – in order to verify it.”

“Probably in a few years many populations will have to move their homes because of these facts” (6).

Extreme colds, too, are “alternative expressions of the same cause” (7).

Read the full text of the new exhortation here


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