World Youth Day in Lisbon: Pope Francis recalls the “dramatic urgency” of the climate challenge

Pope Francis recalled Thursday, in front of young people, the “dramatic urgency” of global warming, pleading for an “integral ecology” on the second day of his visit to Lisbon for World Youth Day (WYD). “We must recognize the dramatic urgency of caring for the common home. However, this cannot be done without (…) a change in the anthropological vision that underlies economics and politics”, declared the Argentinian Jesuit during a meeting in front of students at the Catholic University of Lisbon.

“We cannot be satisfied with simple palliative measures or timid and ambiguous compromises,” insisted the 86-year-old pope after hearing testimonies from young people in this establishment founded in 1967 and chaired by the Jesuits. Francis again defended on this occasion the concept of “integral ecology”, a strong marker of his pontificate developed in his encyclical Laudato Si’ (2015) devoted to the environment, linking ecology and social justice and closely integrating human beings. to nature.


“We need an integral ecology, to listen to the suffering of the planet at the same time as that of the poor; to put the drama of desertification in parallel with that of refugees; the theme of migrations with that of the declining birth rate” , he pleaded. “Not polarizations, but overall visions”, added the pope during an intervention attended by 6,500 people according to local authorities.

Previously, during an appointment that was not on the official program, Jorge Bergoglio met about fifteen Ukrainian pilgrims among the 500 who traveled to Lisbon for WYD, the Vatican said. Following his visit to the Catholic University, he went at the end of the morning to Cascais, an emblematic seaside resort located about thirty km west of Lisbon, where he met young people from the international educational network Scholas Occurrentes .

A ceremony in a downtown park

The spiritual leader of the 1.3 billion Catholics arrived in Lisbon on Wednesday for a five-day visit on the occasion of this week of festive, cultural and spiritual meetings, in the presence of hundreds of thousands of young people from all continents . After a first day dedicated to the Portuguese authorities and the local clergy, he will preside over a ceremony on Thursday afternoon in a park in the city center with all the pilgrims.

After Rio de Janeiro (2013), Krakow (2016) and Panama (2019), these are the fourth World Youth Days for François, whose health appears increasingly fragile. Hospitalized three times since 2021, he now moves in a wheelchair or leaning on a cane. Created in 1986 by John Paul II, the World Youth Days are the largest Catholic gathering in the world and revolve around numerous events (concerts, spiritual times, conferences, debates, etc.).

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