Pope Francis urged Scotland’s Catholics on Thursday to pray for a “fruitful outcome” as negotiators at the United Nations climate talks in Glasgow try to reach an agreement by week’s end.
In a letter released by the Vatican, Francis said he regretted he could not attend the COP26 summit as previously planned, and asked for “God’s gifts of wisdom and strength” for the summit’s decision makers.
“Time is running out,” Francis said. “This occasion must not be wasted, lest we have to face God’s judgment for our failure to be faithful stewards of the world he has entrusted to our care.”
The summit, the pope said, was meant to address “one of the great moral issues of our time: the preservation of God’s creation, given to us as a garden to be cultivated and as a common home for our human family.”
The Vatican said last month that the pope would not attend the summit and that its delegation to the talks would instead be headed by the secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Just before the summit, Francis urged global leaders to “take radical decisions” that would “provide effective responses to the present ecological crisis.”
Since the beginning of his papacy in 2013, Francis has made it clear that environmental issues were important to him. He has noted that poor people suffer most as a result of ecological problems brought about by economic models, industrial systems and policies that hurt the environment.