Papal text says man betrays God by destroying the environment

Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:44am EST
 
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By Philip Pullella and Karen Lema

MANILA (Reuters) - Pope Francis waded into the global debate on climate change and the environment on Sunday, saying in the text of a speech that man was destroying nature and betraying God's calling to be stewards of creation.

Francis offered his thoughts about the environment and climate change for the second time in four days at a rally with young people at a Manila university on the last full day of a week-long Asian tour that has taken him to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

He did not read all of a speech prepared for delivery at the university, improvising after he was moved by the story of an abandoned girl. When he does this, the Vatican says the prepared text is official.

"As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil and pollute our seas, we

betray that noble calling," he said in the text.

Another line he read to the crowd noted that "this country, more than many others, is likely to be seriously affected by climate change".

His comments came a day after he made a dramatic visit to the central city of Tacloban, ground zero of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed at least 6,300 people, left a million homeless and displaced 4 million more when it struck in November 2013.

In Tacloban, Francis wore a transparent poncho to protect him from strong wind and driving rain and had to cut short his visit by four hours to get out of the way of a tropical storm.   Continued...