Pontiff tells young people he is pinning his hopes on their efforts to safeguard environment and help the poor
Associated Press in Assisi
Pope Francis has called for courage in abandoning fossil fuels and lamented that older generations did not know how to protect the planet and secure peace.
The pope, who was visiting Assisi, the birthplace of his namesake saint who was close to nature, told young people on Saturday that he was pinning his hopes on their efforts in working to save the planet and to make the world’s economy more
During his brief visit to the hill town in central Italy, Francis spoke to a gathering of 1,000 young people, some of them young economists. Others are involved in efforts, including start-ups, focused on helping the environment.
The participants came from all over the world. Among them was a woman who recounted to the pope how she and her husband were helped to flee Afghanistan after the takeover of the Taliban last year by an organisation called The Economy of Francis, which is inspired by the life of St Francis, with his attention to the poor and others in need.
The pope said a world economy is needed that expresses “a new vision of the environment and the Earth”.
“There are many people, businesses and institutions that are making an ecological conversion. We need to go forward on this road and do more,” Francis said.
The pontiff cited an urgent need to discuss models of development. “Now is the time for new courage in abandoning fossil fuels to accelerate the development of zero- or positive-impact sources of energy,” Francis said.
He told the young people: “Our generation has left you with a rich heritage, but we have not known how to protect the planet and are not securing peace.”
He lamented a lack of “creativity, optimism, enthusiasm”, and told young people that “we are grateful to God that you are here. Not only will you be there tomorrow, but you are here today.”