Former Vatican spokesman and now deputy director of the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See, Alessandro Gisotti, has said that Swedish climate change campaigner Great Thunberg is an “icon”.

Driving the news

“Greta is undoubtedly an icon, but there are many ‘gretas’ all over the world”, Gisotti, in Madrid last week for the presentation of a book on Pope Francis’ thought on the care for Creation, told Religión Digital.

The Vatican deputy pointman on media explained that “there are many young Catholics engaged” on the climate change issue, “because they understand that it isn’t optional”.

“It’s necessary to approach this problem with courage, with prophecy, like Francis does, and I think the Pope is listened to carefully because he leads by example”, Gisotti insisted.

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Despite feeling “sadness” about the failures of the COP25 climate summit in Madrid, Gisotti said there is still “reason for hope” on detaining global warming: “for great hope, because young people are committed, and perceive that Francis is with them. Believers or nonbelievers”.

“We must redouble our efforts and commitment… We have limited time to face this crisis of climate change and global warming”, the former Vatican spokesman stressed.

He added that, as the Pope says, “everything is connected. Integral ecology is the care of the environment, but also that of the human being”.

“As the Pope underlined in his message to the Climate Summit that has just ended in Madrid, we cannot burden the new generations with the problems of this generation”, Gisotti added to Spanish outlet Alfa y Omega.

“Young people, Catholics and non-Catholics, perceive very clearly that the Holy Father is perhaps the only adult world leader who feels this responsibility”.

Why it matters

Another papal insider who last week backed Pope Francis’ tireless action on behalf of the environment was Vaticanist Franca Giansoldati, a journalist at Italian paper Il Messaggero.

Giansoldati – close personally to Pope Francis, though without a Vatican position like Gisotti – presented in Rome her new book The Green Alphabet of Pope Francis, with a foreward by the pontiff himself.

Giansoldati explained that her The Green Alphabet of Pope Francis encourages a “grassroots revolution” to put into practice Laudato si’, Francis’ “historical” 2015 encyclical on the care for Creation.

“The encyclical will go down in history because it brings the environmental issue out of the ideological cage that had been created in the sixties”, the Vaticanist said.

“Francis takes it out of that place and puts it in an interdependent relationship, to say that nobody is saved by themselves – we’ll only be saved together, through a complete and integrated solution” to the problem of environmental degradation, Giansoldati said.

“We all ask ourselves the question of what world we’ll leave our children. Because a lot of scientists are convinced of a sad future if things don’t change.

“For example, I was struck when I saw that the UN itself had to change its estimates on flood victims for the next few years. There will be 300 million victims in different countries, three quarters of Europe”, Giansoldati warned.

“You don’t have to go very far, to Siberia or to the countries of Southeast Asia, to see that climate change is already happening”, the journalist implored, giving the example of her village in the mountains of central Italy, where changes in flora and fauna can already be seen.

“That’s why I wanted to make the encyclical more understandable, working on the keywords, those that later appear as the most searched for”, Giansoldati explained.

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