- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 1, 2016

Pope Francis is imploring Catholics to confess their sins against the environment, calling the degradation of the climate a “sin against God.”

In his message marking the World day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on Thursday, the pontiff said climate change is caused in part by human activity, leads to extreme weather and disproportionately affects the least advantaged around the world.

“Global warming continues, due in part to human activity: 2015 was the warmest year on record, and 2016 will likely be warmer still,” Francis said. “This is leading to ever more severe droughts, floods, fires and extreme weather events.”

“The world’s poor, though least responsible for climate change, are most vulnerable and already suffering its impact,” he said.

Citing last year’s controversial encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si,” the pontiff said “for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life — these are sins.”

He added that “to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God.”

Francis urged Catholics to repent of their sins against the environment and listed several ways to become more conscientious consumers, including “avoiding the use of plastic and paper,” “using public transportation or car-pooling” and “planting trees.”

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