Pope meets UN chief ahead of key environmental statement
ROME - Agence France-Presse
In this handout picture taken and released on April 28, 2015 by the Vatican press office shows Pope Francis and United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon (R) holding a private meeting at the Vatican. AFP PhotoPope Francis met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for informal talks April 28, just weeks before the Vatican issues a statement on environmental issues that could have a profound impact on the global debate on global warming.
The two leaders had a private talk for half an hour on the sidelines of a workshop on moral questions relating to climate change and sustainable development, Vatican officials said without divulging what had been discussed.
Addressing the seminar, Ban said his talks with the pontiff had been "fruitful and wide-ranging" and that he was looking forward to the upcoming encyclical from the Church, expected in June or July.
An encyclical is a statement of fundamental principles issued in the form of a letter from the pope to bishops around the world.
"Science and religion are not at odds on climate change," Ban said. "Indeed they are fully aligned."
Campaigners on climate change believe that an expression of concern from the Church about the impact of global warming, and a signal of support for steps to reduce the fossil fuel consumption they believe causes it could have great influence on the global debate over the scale of the problem, its roots and what, if anything, needs to be done.
Pope Francis is due to address the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September and the international community will seek to agree a universal agreement on climate change at a summit in Paris in December.
"Paris is not the end point, but must be a turning point in finding a common way forward in meeting the climate challenge."
Climate change sceptics have warned Francis that it would be folly for the Catholic church to integrate the UN's view of global warming into its official teaching, arguing that the views of people like Ban are not grounded in reliable science.