Pope Francis Condemns Ecological Sins and Nazi-Inspired Rhetoric

Pope Francis is surrounded by bodyguards as he stands in his pope mobile during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

A day after the U.S. Catholic bishops declared the fight against abortion their most urgent priority at their fall meeting in Baltimore, prioritizing it over protection of the environment, Pope Francis set the record straight in a scathing speech at the Vatican on Friday (Nov. 15) in which he condemned “ecological sins.”

Speaking to a gathering of prosecutors and criminologists, the pope called for more accountability for international corporations that damage nations, people and the environment.

“One frequent omission of penal law is the insufficient attention the crimes of the powerful receive, especially the large-scale delinquency of corporations,” he told participants of the 20th World Congress of the International Association of Penal Law, a network of experts in penal law and criminology with more than 3,000 members.

In his speech, Francis condemned global corporations that are responsible for “countries’ over-indebtedness and the plunder of our planet’s natural resources.” He said that their activities have the “gravity of crimes against humanity,” especially when they lead to hunger, poverty and the eradication of indigenous peoples.

Such acts of “ecocide” must not go unpunished, said the pope, who in October concluded a synod of bishops to discuss the Amazon region and the safeguarding of the environment.

“We must introduce, (the synod’s bishops) were thinking, in the catechism of the Catholic Church, the sin against ecology, against our common home, because it is our duty,” Francis said in an off-the-cuff remark.

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Source: Religion News Service