Vatican Likens Environmental Crisis to Coronavirus Pandemic

A picture shows St Peter's basilica at night ahead of the WWF "Earth Hour" campaign for global climate change awareness on March 16, 2016 in Rome. Lights went off in thousands of cities and towns across the world on today for the annual Earth Hour campaign, which is aiming to …
AFP / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images

ROME — Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin compared the urgency of fighting the environmental crisis to that of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Together with the COVID-19 pandemic, safeguarding creation is among the most urgent challenges facing humanity,” Cardinal Parolin told a meeting of the presidents of the European Bishops’ Conferences Friday.

“Not even the current health crisis must stop the commitment to take care of our common home,” Parolin continued. “On the contrary it can help us to broaden our reflection and above all push us to carry out concrete activities.”

“Each of us must think of the specific commandment of God given to Adam and Eve, and therefore to every person: to safeguard creation and make it bear fruit, and not to dominate and devastate it,” the cardinal stated.

He was evidently referring to a passage from the biblical book of Genesis, where God commands Adam and Eve to subdue the earth: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

In Thursday’s address, Parolin also underscored the plight of so-called “climate migrants,” believed to have been forced from their homes because of manmade climate change.

“Among the poor and most needy people are migrants who leave their home and land due to climate change,” he asserted.

“New specific pastoral guidelines have also been adopted for them, since the environmental challenge is causing the migration of masses of people, which in the future will be even more evident,” he warned.

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