Pope Francis calls for total ‘ecological conversion’
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    Pope Francis calls for total ‘ecological conversion’

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    Pope Francis is calling for a complete “ecological conversion” involving new human relations and respect for creation in his traditional peace message, to be read out in all Catholic churches on 1 January 2020.

    “A mistaken understanding of our own principles has at times led us to justify mistreating nature, to exercise tyranny over creation, to engage in wars, injustice and acts of violence,” the Pope notes in the message, the customary advanced copy of which was released on Thursday.

    For the Pontiff, people need to undergo an “ecological conversion” because “natural resources, the many forms of life and the Earth itself have been entrusted to us to till and keep, also for future generations.”

    Ecological conversion needs to be understood in an integral manner as “a new way of looking at life”, relations between human beings and with nature, he explains.

    In his message, Jorge Bergoglio also explains that the “ever more devastating wars and conflicts” that have occurred throughout human history result from “the chains of exploitation and corruption that have fuelled hatred and violence.” He also denounces “nuclear deterrence”, as he did during a recent visit to Japan, stressing that it “can only produce the illusion of security.”

    “We cannot claim to maintain stability in the world through the fear of annihilation, in a volatile situation, suspended on the brink of a nuclear abyss and enclosed behind walls of indifference,” the Argentine-born Pontiff adds.

    The Pope also drew inspiration from the recent synod on the Amazon to explain that many conflicts stem from “our lack of respect for our common home or our abusive exploitation of natural resources – seen only as a source of immediate profit, regardless of local communities, the common good and nature itself.”

    Pope Francis calls for “a new way to dwell in our common home” and urges the people of the world “to seek living conditions and models of society that favour the continued flourishing of life and the development of the common good.”

    It is indispensable to work towards a peaceful relationship between communities and the Earth, between the present and memory, and between experiences and hopes, the Pontiff stresses.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times