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The Anguished Cry of Creation

The anguished cries of the poor, of the indigenous peoples and of children should prompt humanity to repent and modify lifestyles and destructive systems, says Pope Francis.

In his message for the World Day of Prayer for Creation to be observed by the Church on September 1, Pope Francis has called for decisive actions at the upcoming summits on climate change (COP27) and on biodiversity (COP15) to be held later this year.  

The World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation is the first day of the so-called Season of Creation beginning on September 1 and concluding on October 4th, with the feast of Saint Francis. It is a special time for all Christians to pray and work together to care for our Common Home.  

In this year’s message, Pope Francis observes how we can hear in the voice of Creation, a kind of ‘dissonance’. “On the one hand, we can hear a sweet song in praise of our beloved Creator; on the other,” he says, “an anguished plea, lamenting our mistreatment of this our Common Home”. It is our Mother Earth crying out for the disappearance of numerous species and the more frequent and severe droughts, heat waves, hurricanes and flooding. 

The anguished cries of the poor, of the indigenous peoples and of children who suffer the most from the impact of climate change, should prompt humanity to repent and modify lifestyles and destructive systems, says the Pope. Nations must act promptly, especially at the upcoming UN summits on the environment this year.   

The COP27 on climate change in Egypt in November represents the next opportunity for an effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. All countries will be presenting ambitious plans in order to reduce to zero greenhouse gas emissions and achieve the goal of limiting temperature increase to 1.5°C. This implies a conversion of models of consumption and production, as well as lifestyles, more respectful of Creation and the integral human development of all peoples. 

The COP15 summit on biodiversity to take place in Canada in December will be a significant opportunity to adopt new agreements to halt the devastation of ecosystems and the loss of species. These are “our God-given network of life,” which must be preserved at all cost.  

Pope Francis concludes his message inviting the faithful and people of goodwill to respond with decisive actions to the cry of Creation. So, let us join all Christians in praying for the success of these two forthcoming meetings.  May they produce attainable commitments in mitigating climate change and preserving biodiversity. Only in this way “future generations can continue to rejoice in Creation’s sweet song of life and hope”.  

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