Pope Francis spoke of the need for action on climate change during a speech at the White House on Wednesday.
“Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution,” the pontiff said.”Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem we can no longer leave to a future generation. When it comes to the care of our common home, we are living at a critical moment in history.”
Pope Francis, who has become known as “the people’s Pope,” also alluded to President Obama’s recent efforts to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba, praising America’s Commander in Chief for opening “new doors to cooperation within our human family.”
And in keeping with one of the themes of his papacy thus far, Pope Francis also called on Americans to support developing nations. “I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development,” he said.
“I thank you for your welcome and I look forward to these days in your country. God bless America,” he concluded.
Pope Francis’ visit marks the first time he has visited the United States. He is on a six day tour of the country, with stops scheduled in Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia. He will address a joint session of Congress on Thursday.
Pope Francis ascended to the papacy in 2013, replacing Benedict XVI, who resigned from the papacy due to what he described as a”lack of strength of mind and body.” He was the first Pope to resign in over 500 years.