By Robin Gomes
"Faith and Science: Towards COP26" is the theme of a day-long meeting that the Vatican is organizing on October 4th, in which religious leaders and scientists will take part. The purpose is to send an appeal to participants in the crucial 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, scheduled from November 1 to 12 in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Vatican initiative was born of the proposal made by the embassies of Great Britain and Italy to the Holy See, which the Holy See accepted.
The Holy See Press office explained that the idea developed through the monthly virtual meetings that began earlier this year, in which religious leaders and scientists were able to share their concerns and wishes for greater responsibility for the planet and for necessary change.
Exchanges at these meetings have given rise to a joint appeal that will be signed by the religious leaders during Monday’s meeting in the Vatican. Pope Francis will deliver the appeal to Alok Sharma of Britain, the president-designate of COP26, and Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Italy is partnering with the United Kingdom in leading COP26, mostly in preparatory work such as hosting pre-COP26 meetings and events.
Monday’s event will include an afternoon closed-door session at the Embassy of Italy to the Holy See.
Monday’s event will kick off in the Vatican, with Holy See Press Office Director, Matteo Bruni welcoming the participants. It will be followed by a reading of the executive summary of the appeal to COP26 and its by the faith leaders and their representatives.
After a moment of silent prayer and greeting by Vatican Secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, 2 representatives of the September 28 to 30 “Youth4Climate” event in Milan, Italy, will present the appeal to the faith leaders.
Pope Francis will then address the participants and present the appeal to Sharma and Di Maio.
Following speeches by various faith leaders and their representatives, the presidents of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences will speak on behalf of all the scientists participating in the process.
After remarks by Vatican Secretary for Relations with State, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the morning session will conclude with planting an olive tree in the Vatican Gardens.
The afternoon session, which will take place at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See, will include two rounds of discussion, namely, on “Faith and Science: How to Increase Awareness” and “Faith, Science and Future Cooperation: the Way Forward”.