For all his power to decide what things are Allowed/Not Allowed, Forgivable/Unforgivable, Pope Francis has no way of forcing governments to act, other than through pontifical persuasion. This is hard for the Chill Pope, because he, like many of us, can see that we are slowly but surely destroying the planet—a very unchill thing to do.
At a Vatican conference on Friday, Pope Francis called on governments to honor their Paris Accord commitments, according to the Associated Press. “There is a real danger that we will leave future generations only rubble, deserts and refuse,” he warned. His speech continued:
We all know that much still needs to be done to implement that Agreement. All governments should strive to honor the commitments made in Paris, in order to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis. “Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility, above all on the part of those countries which are more powerful and pollute the most” (ibid., 169), and we cannot afford to waste time.
It’s not unreasonable to glean that these remarks were partially directed at nemesis Donald J. Trump, a man not known for honoring commitments or listening to reason.
It’s been three years since Pope Francis published his environmental encyclical Laudato si’, the one he shadily gifted to Trump during his visit to the Vatican, which called for a radical shift in human behavior. He wrote a whole papal encyclical and look where it’s gotten us. According to AP, Friday’s speech is part of a renewed push by the Vatican to “impress a sense of urgency about global warming and the threat it poses.” This initiative goes beyond subtweets—the Pope reportedly recently met with oil executives, urging them to find fossil fuel alternatives. And in 2019, Pope Francis will have a meeting with bishops to coordinate a response to the deforestation ravaging the Amazon.
Chill Pope is far from perfect, but one thing’s for sure: He really cares about the continuation of the human race.