Two of Europe’s most important churchmen have come out strongly in favour of the “Fridays for Future” movement for the climate.
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“I am grateful to young people and children, that they have managed with their tirelessness to really make the whole world aware of the urgency of the climate issue”, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the President of the German Bishops’ Conference told Bayerischer Rundfunk.
Marx, who is also one of the Pope’s most trusted advisers, said the “Fridays for Future” movement overlaps with the “comprehensive and holistic concern for creation” that Francis pushed to the top of the Church’s agenda in his 2015 encyclical on care for our Common Home, Laudato si’.
“I stand behind the younger generation”, said for his part Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg in an interview with L’essentiel.
Hollerich, whom the Pope will make a cardinal this Saturday in the Vatican, added: “Let’s leave the young people a habitable earth, which is the minimum to be happy”.
The soon-to-be red hat, who is also the President of COMECE, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union in Brussels, said young people have a right to protest for the environment.
With their demands for glass and not plastic bottles, or for more environmentally-friendly modes of transport, the Fridays for Future protesters are “calling people of my generation to change their way of life”, the 61-year-old Hollerich admitted.
Marx also referred to the Synod for the Amazon that begins Sunday in the Vatican.
The cardinal, who will attend the meet, said the goal at the Synod is to “find new ways of evangelisation for this part of the people of God, especially for the indigenous people, who are regularly forgotten and have no prospect of a good future”.
But the march of globalisation and the exploitation of natural resources that so threaten the Amazon are not just “regionally-limited problems”, Marx warned.
Rather, what happens to the “lung” of the planet is environmentally and economically “intertwined with the whole world”, the cardinal said.
Marx added that with the new consciousness of the Amazon a “new subject” has appeared on the world stage.
The Amazon, “which has not been adequately respected at national or world level or even in the life of the Church, is now a privileged interlocutor for us”, the cardinal explained.
That’s why, Marx continued, indigenous people will be “undoubtedly the most important” participants in the Synod, and why their pastoral care needs will occupy much of the discussion at the meet.