Pope urges next generation to focus of climate change and health of the planet.



Pope Francis reminded young people Thursday of “the dramatic urgency” of global warming and advocated “integral ecology” on the second day of his visit to Lisbon to participate in World Youth Day (WYD).

“We must recognize the dramatic urgency of taking charge of our common home. However, this cannot be done without a conversion of the heart and a change in the anthropological vision that is at the base of the economy and politics”, affirmed the Argentine Pope during a meeting with students at the Catholic University of Lisbon.

“We cannot settle for simple palliative measures or timid and ambiguous commitments,” insisted the 86-year-old pontiff, after hearing the testimony of several young people in this institution founded in 1967 and chaired by the Jesuits.

Francis once again defended the concept of “integral ecology”, a mark of his pontificate developed in his encyclical “Laudato Si” (2015), dedicated to the defense of the environment, which links ecology and social justice, closely integrating the human being with nature.

“We need an integral ecology; we need to listen to the suffering of the planet together with that of the poor; we need to put the drama of desertification in parallel with that of the refugees, the issue of migration together with the decrease in birth rates,” he said.

“Not to create polarizations but joint visions,” added the Pope before the 6,500 people who attended the event, according to local authorities.

Earlier, during a meeting that was not on the official program, Jorge Bergoglio met about fifteen Ukrainian pilgrims of the around 500 who traveled to Lisbon for WYD, the Vatican said.

At the end of his visit to the Catholic University, the pontiff traveled to Cascais, a historic spa town located thirty kilometers west of Lisbon, where he met young people from the Scholas Occurrentes international educational network.

The spiritual leader of the 1.3 billion Catholics began his five-day visit to Lisbon on Wednesday to participate in this week of festive, cultural and spiritual meetings that bring together hundreds of thousands of young people from all continents.

After a first day dedicated to the local authorities and clergy, Francis will preside over a massive welcoming ceremony for the pilgrims on Thursday afternoon in a large park in the center of a city now taken over by WYD.

After those held in Rio de Janeiro (2013), Krakow (2016) and Panama (2019), this is the fourth WYD for Pope Francis, whose health seems increasingly fragile. Hospitalized three times since 2021, the Argentine pontiff now usually moves in a wheelchair or with the help of a cane.

Considered the largest international gathering of Catholics, WYD was created in 1986 at the initiative of John Paul II. This edition should have been held in 2022, but was postponed due to the pandemic.

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