Sunday 26 October 2014

Pope brands destruction of rain forests 'sin of modern times'

Pope Francis hits out at other forms of environmental exploitation

Published 05/07/2014 | 15:49

Pope Francis at yesterday’s general audience in Rome. Reuters
Pope Francis at yesterday’s general audience in Rome. Reuters
Pope Francis. Reuters
Pope Francis. Reuters
Pope Francis, flanked by the president of CEI (Italian Episcopal Conference) Msgr Nunzio Galantino waves to the faithful as he arrives at the Cassano's Seminary on June 21, 2014 in Cassano allo Jonio Cosenza, Italy. Pope Francis is visiting the mafia heartland of Calabria for the first time on Saturday to spend a day in the hometown of a toddler who was murdered in a clan drug war.
Pope Francis, flanked by the president of CEI (Italian Episcopal Conference) Msgr Nunzio Galantino waves to the faithful as he arrives at the Cassano's Seminary on June 21, 2014 in Cassano allo Jonio Cosenza, Italy. Pope Francis is visiting the mafia heartland of Calabria for the first time on Saturday to spend a day in the hometown of a toddler who was murdered in a clan drug war.

Pope Francis called for more respect for nature on Saturday, branding the destruction of South America's rain forests and other forms of environmental exploitation a sin of modern times.

In an address at the university of Molise, an agricultural and industrial region in southern Italy, Francis said the Earth should be allowed to give her fruits without being exploited.

"This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation," he told students, struggling farmers, and laid-off workers in a university hall.

"When I look at America, also my own homeland (South America), so many forests, all cut, that have become land ... that can longer give life. This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to her give us what she has within her," the Argentine pope said in unprepared remarks.

Francis, who took his name from Francis of Assisi, the 13th century saint seen as the patron of animals and the environment, is writing an encyclical on man's relationship with nature.

Since his election in March, 2013, the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics has made many appeals in defence of the environment.

After the university meeting, Francis said mass for tens of thousands of people in a stadium.

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