Pope Francis Visits U.S., Calls For Action On Climate Change, Helping The Poor
President Barack Obama welcomed Pope Francis to the White House Wednesday morning after the Pope arrived to the U.S. for the first time since becoming the Catholic Church’s highest emissary.
The President and the Pope have both been verbal advocates on the issues of climate change and helping the less fortunate, issues that sharply divide liberals and conservatives in Congress and the U.S.
Pope Francis in his prepared remarks, spoke at length about fighting climate change and as humans our moral obligation to protect the planet.
As Think Progress noted:
“Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution,” said Francis. “Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.”
“When it comes to the care of our ‘common home’, we are living at a critical moment of history,” he said. “We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about ‘a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.’ Such change demands on our part a serious and responsible recognition not only of the kind of world we may be leaving to our children, but also to the millions of people living under a system which has overlooked them. Our common home has been part of this group of the excluded which cries out to heaven and which today powerfully strikes our homes, our cities and our societies.”
“To use a telling phrase of the Reverend Martin Luther King, we can say that we have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it,” Francis added, quoting the famous civil rights leader’s “I Have A Dream” speech. “We know by faith that ‘the Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home’. As Christians inspired by this certainty, we wish to commit ourselves to the conscious and responsible care of our common home.”
President Obama, speaking before Francis at the White House, praised the leader’s work in addressing climate change.
“Holy Father, you remind us that we have a sacred obligation to protect our planet, God’s magnificent gift to us,” Obama said, according to prepared remarks.
“We support your call to all world leaders to support the communities most vulnerable to a changing climate and to come together to preserve our precious world for future generations.”
As both noted, climate change will impact most the poor and less fortunate in our world, but the high pontiff has taken his advocacy for helping the “most vulnerable” beyond simply acting on climate change and has often attacked the global economic system he feels neglects the needs of the poor and idolizes money. Francis touched on this as he closed his address at the White House Wednesday morning.
“The efforts which were recently made to mend broken relationships and to open new doors to cooperation within our human family represent positive steps along the path of reconciliation, justice and freedom. I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development, so that our brothers and sisters everywhere may know the blessings of peace and prosperity which God wills for all his children.”