Pope Francis says coronavirus is one of ‘nature’s responses’ so we will rethink climate change

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Pope Francis decided to ride the wave of the coronavirus crisis by beating the drum of climate change catastrophes.

The Pope found a way to connect the global pandemic, which has not actually infected oceans and glaciers, as one of “nature’s responses” to human disregard for the planet.

(Image: Global News screenshot)

“There is an expression in Spanish: ‘God always forgives, we forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives,'” the Pope said in an interview with The Tablet.

The 83-year-old pontiff contended that, while society could use the COVID-19 outbreak as a reason to rethink the global effects of lifestyle choices on the environment, people had not even responded to “partial catastrophes” that already had taken place.

“We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods?” the Pope told the Catholic weekly which is published in the United Kingdom.

“I don’t know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature’s responses,” he added.

Last month, speaking with a Spanish journalist, the Pope said, “Fires, earthquakes … nature is throwing a tantrum so that we will take care of her.”

Daily operations at the Vatican have been transformed in the wake of the pandemic which has infected more than 147,000 people in Italy and, tragically, caused the deaths of over 18, 840 according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Saint Peter’s Square and Basilica was open to the public in early March and Holy Week celebrations this week saw empty areas that typically attract tens of thousands of worshipers.  While the Pope himself had tested negative for the virus, his age and the fact that he has a damaged lung from an infection decades ago make him more vulnerable to the disease.

The Catholic leader told The Tablet that the “Curia is trying to carry on its work, and to live normally,” while trying practicing social distancing and avoiding crowding.

The Pope criticized “the hypocrisy of certain political personalities who speak of facing up to the crisis, of the problem of hunger in the world, but who in the meantime manufacture weapons.” He also believed the coronavirus crisis presented the opportunity for “an economy that is less liquid, more human.”

“I believe we have to slow down our rate of production and consumption and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world,” he said. “We need to reconnect with our real surroundings. This is the opportunity for conversion.”

Last year the pontiff warned that humans had “caused a climate emergency that gravely threatens nature and life itself,” calling on world governments to take “drastic” action.

Governments should “renew commitments decisive for directing the planet towards life, not death,” he argued in a message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation last September. The Pope has called on nations to abandon fossil fuels and move toward clean energy and has criticized the U.S. decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement in 2017.

While Pope Francis certainly found support for his views on the pandemic, many Twitter users took issue with his connection of the coronavirus to environmental factors.

 

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Frieda Powers

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