Pope Francis travelled to Azerbaijan on Sunday for a 10-hour visit aimed at encouraging the country’s inter-religious harmony, while overlooking criticism of a referendum that extends the president’s term and powers. Francis’ first stop was to celebrate Mass for Azerbaijan’s tiny Catholic community.
Pope Francis has opened his visit to the United States with a call for action to combat climate change.
Pope Francis has challenged Latin America’s youth to take up his environmental protection campaign, saying the defence of God’s creation is not just a recommendation but a requirement. Francis’ appeal, delivered at Quito’s Catholic University, is particularly relevant for Ecuador, a Pacific nation that is home to one of the world’s most species-diverse ecosystems in the Galapagos Islands and Amazon rainforest, but is also an Opec country heavily dependent on oil extraction. The pontiff told students and professors that God gave humanity the Earth to not only cultivate, but to care for - a message he framed earlier this month in his headline-grabbing encyclical on the environment.
The pope has issued a stark warning over the urgent need to tackle “extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems“ in an eagerly-awaited message on the environment. In the first papal encyclical Pope Francis has written, he said climate change was mostly down to human activity and policies were urgently needed to cut carbon emissions, such as by reducing fossil fuels and developing renewables.
An eagerly-awaited message from the Pope being formally published today is expected to warn of the urgent need to tackle “unprecedented” climate change and destruction of nature. The papal encyclical, a letter sent to 5,000 Catholic bishops worldwide, is being published in five languages, and Pope Francis has said the document is “addressed to everyone”, not just the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. A leaked draft of the encyclical, which appeared on the website of Italian news magazine L’Espresso in Italian earlier this week, indicates the pontiff will use it to spell out the moral and scientific case for protecting the environment.