Pope, Patriarch: Care for creation includes respect for people

Pope Francis leads a Corpus Domini mass in Rome's Basilica of St. John in Lateran Italy

Pope Francis leads a Corpus Domini mass in Rome's Basilica of St. John in Lateran Italy

"Our obligation to use the earth's goods responsibly implies the recognition of and respect for all people and all living creatures".

The pope and patriarch said that "God intended humanity to cooperate in the preservation and protection of the natural environment", but moral decay has altered mankind's "attitude and behavior towards creation" with "tragic and lasting" consequences.

Quoting Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato Si', the Cardinal said that the Holy Father reminds us that "the ecological crisis summons us to a profound spiritual conversation: Christians are called to an ecological conversation, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ becomes evident in their relationship with the world around them".

Francis' positive revelation about therapy is also a big step forward toward encouraging more people to seek out the care they need, as over a billion people around the world now claim to follow the teachings of the Church.

The Pope instituted September 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in the Catholic calendar in 2015, in an ecumenical move that joined the Orthodox Church - which has marked the day since 1989.

With this political division over the Paris deal, and the increasing severity of natural disasters around the world, some have noted the added urgency these religious leaders - Francis, 80, and Bartholomew, 77 - may have felt to make a united plea for the planet.

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The earth was entrusted to us as a "sublime gift and legacy", which gives us all a shared responsibility in its care, it continues.

The history of the world "reveals a morally decaying scenario where our attitude and behaviour towards creation obscures our calling as God's co-operators", the two prelates declare, and as a result humans have become "alienated" from the original objective of creation.

We have also been controlled by an "insatiable desire to manipulate and control the planet's limited resources".

In their message, Francis and the Orthodox leader blasted the "alternative worldview" that considers nature as a private possession to be exploited, regardless of the cost.

"We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalized", Francis and Bartholomew said in a joint statement.