Vatican cardinal Pietro Parolin has pleaded with participants in the COP25 summit in Madrid for “practical measures” in the face of the “urgency” of the climate crisis.

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“Here we must underline the urgency of following up on the decisions made in Paris and in the other COPs, especially the COP in Katowice last year, and of taking practical measures so that we can really respond to today’s climate problems”, Vatican Secretary of State Parolin said December 2 after the inauguration of the UN-backed summit in Madrid.

That inauguration brought together more than 50 world leaders who heard UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres say that since the planet is close to “the point of no return”, countries must take more “ambitious” steps “now” to limit emissions, at this “critical time”.

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Parolin affirmed that the Pope has hope that the COP25 will really be able to do something for the planet, and that the cardinal’s presence in meetings in Madrid is proof of that vote of confidence.

“The fact that we [the Vatican] participate means that we believe in these multilateral activities, in which the entire international community meets to respond to common problems”, Parolin said.

“That’s why we’re here and I believe that our presence here is the sign that the Pope believes in it and continues to believe in it”.

The cardinal added that his message for delegates at the summit, to run to December 13, is “the one that the Holy Father has addressed to the entire international community for a long time”, above all in writings such as his 2015 encyclical on care for our Common Home, Laudato si’.

Parolin emphasised that among international leaders, “practically, Pope Francis has taken the lead in favour of this Common Home, of integral ecology”.

The cardinal recalled that the Pope’s leadership has also extended to the fight for the “eradication of poverty” in the world since, for the pontiff, the defence of the environment and that of society’s most vulnerable people “is interlinked”.

For the record

Days back a group of Amazon Synod cardinals also addressed a message to the COP25, reminding politicians that inaction on climate change is “a crime” against humanity and nature.

“If humankind fails to mitigate Climate Change, tipping points like the one in the Amazon may reach a point of no return, and potentially send the Earth into a spiral of runaway climate change modifying the face of our common home”, the cardinals warned in that message.

Next on Novena:

Ahead of UN summit, Amazon Synod cardinals warn governments inaction on climate a “crime”

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


Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.