The gathering, “Faith and Science: Towards COP26,” held 4 October, brought together some 40 leaders from the world's major religions and 10 scientists, who issued a joint appeal for COP26. The event was promoted by the Embassies of the United Kingdom and Italy to the Holy See, along with the Holy See.
The event’s program explains that the talks occurred in a time when there is urgent need to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero.
“Faith leaders have a special part to play as the repositories of our moral values, the guides of our ethical action, and pioneers of change to make the management of their land, buildings and investments sustainable,” stated the program. “Faith leaders have long raised awareness of the dangers of climate change.”
His Holiness Pope Francis addressed the global gathering, reflecting in part on the state of the climate emergency a year after the publication of Fratelli tutti, his encyclical on fraternity and social friendship. In 2015, Pope Francis wrote an encyclical on the need to protect the environment, reduce wasteful lifestyles, stem global warming and protect the poor from the effects of climate change.
The 4 October talks also featured a public reading of the executive summary of Faith Leaders’ Appeal to COP26.
WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca’s message focused on how people of good will need to bring their voices and commit to an ecological conversion.
“As people of faith, we have to be prophetic and tell the truth of the state we are in,” said Sauca, stressing that the affirmation of one humanity and the value of human dignity within and with creation is at the heart of the search and aspirations of the WCC.
Sauca closed his remarks saying that we have an obligation to care for each other and for our common home. “Creation is not for some to consume and leave others behind,” he said.