Francis, in Wednesday's General Audience

Pope says environmental policies not enough to fight “narcissism and greed” behind ecological crisis

The “new perspective” the world needs on climate change requires “a deep revision of our cultural and economic models”, the Pope has claimed.

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Francis called on citizens and governments to go beyond “purely environmental” solutions to the ecological crisis in a never-before-published text included in Nostra Madre Terra (“Our Mother Earth”), a new Vatican editorial collection of papal addresses, messages and homilies on the care for Creation.

In an extract of that text, to be released October 24 during the Amazon Synod and published exclusively by Italian paper Corriere della Sera, the Pope urged humanity to apologise for the damage we are doing to the Earth.

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“The ecological crisis we are experiencing is above all one of the effects of a sick way of looking at ourselves, at others [and] at the world”, the Pope wrote.

He went to warn that without true repentance, all our efforts to save the planet will be in vain.

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“One of the great risks of our time in light of the serious threat to the life of the planet caused by the ecological crisis is not to read this phenomenon as an aspect of a global crisis, and limit ourselves only to seeking purely environmental solutions, however necessary and indispensable these are”, Francis explained.

The Pope insisted that new models of cultural and economic development are needed to fight the crisis, since “we’re all victims” of liberal capitalism.

“Since childhood we’re bombarded… [with a] widespread commercial ideology that stimulates individualism, narcissism, greed, base ambitions and the denial of the other”, Francis denounced.

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What’s next

The Pope added that he “dreams” of “sincere repentance on the part of all of us, of the men and women of the 21st century, believers and not, of our societies, for having let ourselves be carried away by mentalities that divide, create hunger, isolate and condemn”.

“It would be nice to be able to apologise to the poor, to the excluded, and to be able to sincerely repent of the damage done to the sea, to the land, to the air and to the animals…”, Francis wrote.

The Pope admitted that his call to the world to ask forgiveness for environmental and social degradation might appear “idealistic and not very concrete”.

But he insisted that technological advances, emissions reductions and other pro-environmental policies, for all the help that these are, “are not enough if the criteria for living of human beings don’t change”.

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