He went on: “Let us not stay in sacristies, let us not form elitist groups that isolate themselves and close themselves off. Hope is always on the move and also passes through Christian communities, daughters of the resurrection, who go out, announce, share, endure and fight to build the Kingdom of God.”
“How wonderful it would be if, in the areas most marked by pollution and degradation, Christians did not limit themselves to denouncing, but took on the responsibility of creating networks of redemption.”
Referring to his 2015 encyclical Laudato si’, he emphasized that half measures would “simply delay the inevitable disaster.”
Turning to the final sign, “the obligation to turn,” he said that the world’s poor and the Earth itself were crying out for change.
He quoted the Italian Bishop Antonio Bello (1935-1993), who he described as “a prophet in the land of Puglia,” the region at the southeastern tip of the Italian Peninsula.
He recalled that Bello often repeated that “We cannot limit ourselves to hope. We must organize hope!”
“A profound conversion awaits us, which touches the human ecology, the ecology of the heart, even before environmental ecology,” the pope commented.
“The turning point will only come if we know how to train consciences not to look for easy solutions to protect those who are already secure, but to propose lasting processes of change for the benefit of the younger generations.”
“Such a conversion, aimed at a social ecology, can nourish this time that has been called one ‘of ecological transition,’ where the choices to be made cannot only be the result of new technological discoveries, but also of renewed social models.”
He added: “The epochal change we are going through demands a turning point. Let us look, in this sense, to many signs of hope, to many people whom I wish to thank because, often in industrious obscurity, they are working to promote a different economic model that is fairer and more attentive to people.”
The pope also sent a short video message encouraging young people taking part in the four-day event.
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He said: “You are the present, you are the planet’s today, never feel on the margins of projects or reflections. Your dreams must be the dreams of all, and you have much to teach us about the environment.”