VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Saturday called on lawmakers worldwide to overcome “the narrow confines” of partisan politics to quickly reach consensus on fighting climate change.
The pope addressed parliamentarians who were in Rome for a preparatory meeting before the U.N’s annual climate conference, which begins in Glasgow, Scotland, on Oct. 31.
Francis referred to a joint appeal he and other religious leaders signed last week that calls for governments to commit to ambitious goals at the U.N. conference, which experts consider a critical opportunity to tackle the threat of global warming.
“To meet this challenge, everyone has a role to play,’’ Francis told the visiting lawmakers from many countries. “That of political and government leaders is especially important.”
“This demanding change of direction will require great wisdom, foresight and concern for the common good: in a word, the fundamental virtues of good politics,’’ Francis said.
Francis said earlier he intended to participate in the U.N.’s upcoming COP26 conference, but the Vatican announced Friday that he would not attend and the Vatican delegation would be led by the secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
No explanation was given, but the 84-year-old pope underwent intestinal surgery in July.
He expressed hope Saturday that the lawmakers’ efforts at the climate conference and beyond “will be illuminated by the two important principles of responsibility and solidarity.”
“We owe this to the young, to future generations,” Francis said.
Before his speech, Francis gave a private audience to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.