Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby emphasized the call of Christians to care for creation.

In the Sept. 1 joint statement, the three faith leaders urged readers to “not waste this moment” and to “decide what kind of world we want to leave to future generations.”

The release of the statement coincided with the start of the Season of Creation, a Christian focus on creation care from Sept. 1 through Oct. 4, and came two months prior to the COP26 United Nations’ Climate Change Conference being held in Glasgow, Scotland.

Citing biblical stories and teachings that critique attitudes focus on short-term benefits at the expense of the long-term good, Bartholomew, Francis and Welby emphasized the need for Christians to focus on the common good.

“The concept of stewardship — of individual and collective responsibility for our God-given endowment — presents a vital starting-point for social, economic and environmental sustainability,” they said. “We must pursue generosity and fairness in the ways that we live, work and use money, instead of selfish gain.”

All of creation is now seeing and suffering the consequences of humanity’s focus on so-called progress at the expense of the world’s climate. Extreme weather events and natural disasters across the world are among the negative impacts resulting from how humans have used, and abused, the world’s resources.

Repentance at both the individual and collective levels will be necessary to change the course of our world’s future.

Everyone must rethink how they are consuming resources, as we choose “to eat, travel, spend, invest and live differently, thinking not only of immediate interest and gains but also of future benefits,” they emphasized.

“Caring for God’s creation is a spiritual commission requiring a response of commitment,” the statement concluded. “This is a critical moment. Our children’s future and the future of our common home depend on it.”

The full text of the statement is available here.

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