• Members Login

At UN Climate Summit Pope Francis makes heartfelt appeal to choose life


“I ask everyone to accompany this pilgrimage of reconciliation with the world
that is our home and to help make it more beautiful…”

Pope Francis, Laudate Deum # 69


At UN Climate Summit Pope Francis makes heartfelt appeal to choose life —and ways to put faith into action

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) currently taking place in Dubai from November 30 - December 12, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin delivered Pope Francis’ speech which began with a heartfelt appeal:

“Sadly, I am unable to be present with you, as I had greatly desired.  Even so, I am with you, because time is short.  I am with you because now more than ever, the future of us all depends on the present that we now choose.  I am with you because the destruction of the environment is an offence against God, a sin that is not only personal but also structural, one that greatly endangers all human beings, especially the most vulnerable in our midst…. I am with you to raise the question which we must answer now: Are we working for a culture of life or a culture of death?  To all of you I make this heartfelt appeal:  Let us choose life!  Let us choose the future!  May we be attentive to the cry of the earth, may we hear the plea of the poor, may we be sensitive to the hopes of the young and the dreams of children!”

 Cardinal Parolin leads the Holy See’s delegation to COP28. For health reasons Pope Francis cancelled his December trip to Dubai where he had planned to deliver the speech himself, hold private bilateral meetings, and inaugurate the Faith Pavilion, the first of its kind at a UN Climate Change Conference.

The Faith Pavilion is hosted by the UN Environment Programme, the Muslim Council of Elders, and other faith-based organizations. Programming aims to encourage faith-based organizations to connect with country delegates and increase visibility of their environmental advocacy work as well as promote multifaith understanding. The program is now available and sessions can be watched livestream on the Faith Pavilion website.

Recent science reports informing discussions at COP 28 show how we are not yet ‘choosing life’ enough in our actions on the climate crisis. One UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report outlines “a disturbing acceleration in the number, speed and scale of broken climate records” with new highs for greenhouse gas emissions and global temperatures “accompanied by devastating extreme events”. In Canada this brings to mind our record-breaking destructive wildfire season. For developing countries least responsible for the climate crisis but with growing needs for climate adaptation—international adaptation financing is actually decreasing with developing country needs now estimated in another UNEP report as 10-18 times greater than current funds provided. 

To get the world on track to staying within the temperature limits of the Paris Agreement will require significant emissions cuts by 2030, low-carbon transformation and more financial support for developing countries. Canada is also not on track to meet its 2030 target for reducing emissions.

In his speech, Pope Francis calls for COP 28 to be a turning point: “Brothers and sisters, it is essential that there be a breakthrough that is not a partial change of course, but rather a new way of making progress together…  May this COP prove to be a turning point, demonstrating a clear and tangible political will that can lead to a decisive acceleration of ecological transition through means that meet three requirements: they must be “efficient, obligatory and readily monitored” (Laudate Deum #59).  And achieved in four sectors: energy efficiency; renewable sources; the elimination of fossil fuels; and education in lifestyles that are less dependent on the latter.”

Everyone needed to bring about transformation


Several references to Laudato Si’ and Laudate Deum are in Pope Francis’ speech. On October 4th, Pope Francis published an apostolic exhortation called Laudate Deum (Praise God in Latin) and addressed it “To all People of Good Will on the Climate Crisis”. Explaining why he wrote it, the Pope stated: 

“Eight years have passed since I published the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, when I wanted to share with all of you, my brothers and sisters of our suffering planet, my heartfelt concerns about the care of our common home. Yet, with the passage of time, I have realized that our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point.” (Laudate Deum #2)

 Laudate Deum delves into the latest climate science, damages and risks, and some of the underlying roots. It also outlines some weaknesses of international politics as well as some progress and failures at the UN climate conferences.

Pope Francis then appeals for a change in direction at the UN climate summit (COP28). While recognizing that the most effective solutions come from national and international political decisions, the Pope asks “everyone to accompany this pilgrimage of reconciliation with the world that is our home” (#69). By changing personal, family and community habits we help to bring about cultural change and transformation.

In a video message for the Inauguration of the Faith Pavilion in Dubai, Pope Francis emphasized how religions can work together and set an example:

“As religious representatives, let us set an example to show that change is possible and bear witness to respectful and sustainable lifestyles. With a loud voice, let us implore leaders of nations that our common home be preserved. In particular, young people and the poor, whose prayers reach the throne of the Most High, ask this of us. For their future and the future of all, let us safeguard creation and protect our common home; let us live in peace and promote peace!”

Ways to pray, learn and act together on the climate crisis

Many faith-based organizations have developed resources and initiatives for people of faith to pray, learn and act together on the climate crisis at this critical time. These are just a few possible ways of putting faith into action:  

1. Laudato Si’ Movement is inviting support for their online Petition Empowering Change: A Petition Inspired by Laudate Deum and Laudato Si’ for COP28. They have a delegation in Dubai and are collaborating on an event The Global Catholic Letter on Climate Change to the COP28 Presidency, that can be watched on YouTube on December 5th from 9:30 – 11:00 am ET. They have also produced an Advent calendar with prayers, reflections and suggested actions related to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28).

2. For the Love of Creation, a Canadian faith-based initiative for climate justice, is organizing learning events and collective actions related to COP28. They are inviting groups across Canada to host Candles for COP Vigils for Climate Justice in their own communities on the weekend of December 8-10, 2023 and have resources on their website. More information and registration is also available on their website for their Road to COP Webinar Series:

  • Churches’ Advocacy on Loss and Damage – Tues., November 14 at 7:30 pm ET (watch recording here);
  • Climate Anxiety – Thurs., November 30 at 1:00 pm ET
  • Laudate Deum: Eco-Spirituality in Action – Tues., December 5 at 6:30 pm ET

3. The Interfaith Liaison Committee to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has produced a Prayers & Meditation for COP28 resource.

4. Laudate Deum can be read online and Laudato Si’ Movement offers reflection and action resources at this website https://laudatedeum.church/, including key quotations, key points, and frequently asked questions.

5. Laudate Deum Webinars: Watch the recording of the October 4th launch webinar Presentation of the Apostolic Exhortation: "Laudate Deum", facilitated by Laudato Si’ Movement. In the webinar Cardinal Michael Czerny calls Laudate Deum “an urgent appeal to all of us… to join forces against the climate crisis”. MLSM Canada also organized a webinar Laudate Deum: A Canadian Discussion where speakers reflected on the Pope’s message in relation to Canadian political and social realities and suggested some relevant advocacy actions. Watch the recording here and find a summary and suggested actions in the latest Laudato Si’ Dialogues Newsletter.

“The world sings of an infinite
how can we fail to
care for it?”

Pope Francis, Laudate Deum # 65

singing-sparrow.jpg Credit: Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash


Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Make A Donation

Help fund our important work by making a secure donation.



Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or email. Created with NationBuilder