Since Pope Francis has already taken such competent care of the Catholic Church's spiritual needs, he can spend his time holding audiences with leaders of the “Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat” on such topics as food security, nutrition, climate change, disaster risk reduction and resilient means of subsistence. From the Vatican Press Office’s bulletin of the audience:
Address of the Holy Father
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I offer a warm welcome to you, the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders. Your presence here is a visible sign of the rich variety of cultures and the great natural beauty of the Pacific region.
I share your concern for the peoples of the region, especially those exposed to the extreme environmental and climate events that are becoming more frequent and intense. Of concern too is the grave impact of rising sea levels and the disturbing and continuous deterioration of the barrier reef, a marine ecosystem of immense importance. In this regard, I remember the disquieting question posed almost thirty years ago by the Bishops of the Philippines: “Who turned the wonderworld of the seas into underwater cemeteries bereft of colour and life?” (cf. Laudato Si’, 41). A number of causes have led to this environmental decay and, sadly, many of them are due to short-sighted human activity connected with certain ways of exploiting natural and human resources, the impact of which ultimately reaches the ocean bed itself (cf. ibid.).
When we speak of rising sea levels, which “mainly affect impoverished coastal populations who have nowhere else to go” (ibid., 48), our thoughts turn to the problem of global warming widely discussed in various international forums and meetings. In these very days COP-23, the twenty-third session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention Framework of the United Nations, is meeting in Bonn, under the presidency of one of the countries you represent, the Fiji Islands. It is my hope that the efforts of COP-23, and those yet to come, will always keep in mind the greater picture of that “earth without borders, with its highly rarified atmosphere”, as it was described by one of the astronauts currently orbiting in the International Space Station, with whom I recently had a fascinating conversation.
Read the complete bulletin HERE
REMNANT COMMENT: Everything with the Church is well and good. All humans are virtuous and all souls saved. Time to start spending all my time on ecology! Have to do something to bide my time until I return to Mother Earth, and they can commence proceedings for my canonization.