S+L logo

The Pope Meeting Heads of State: Why Does It Matter? - Vatican Connections

June 6, 2017
In this episode of Vatican Connections we to talk about US President Donald Trump’s recent meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on May 24.
Since then and only eight days after that historic visit, Trump announced he was pulling out of the Paris agreement. In December 2015, 195 countries signed a climate accord, agreeing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half in order to prevent the increase of atmospheric temperatures. Vatican officials were hopeful that his meeting with Pope Francis and those at the G7 would influence Trump’s decision.
Some Vatican officials, such as Cardinal Reinhard Marx, a member of the Roman Curia and President of the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, however weren’t surprised, but the United States backing down from the agreement “erodes the global trust achieved”.
The prefect of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Turkson, in turn insisted, “This is something we hoped would not have happened”. He added that “certain issues, such as this one, “should be taken out of the political discussion and not be politicized” since “climate is a global public good and not limited to any country”.
Even before the it was announced, Argentinian Archbishop and chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo said if such a decision was made “it would be a disaster”, a “slap in the face”.
When the President met the Pope at the Vatican, a meeting which lasted 30 minutes, both men did not directly discuss climate change but the question was brought up between Trump and the Pope’s advisers. The Holy Father had offered the President a copy of his major texts, including his encyclical on the environment Laudato si'. Trump said that he would “read them”.
“The Vatican would always respect the decision of a sovereign state” said Cardinal Turkson. Despite what seems like a letdown, the Vatican is not easily discouraged. Anything can happen, and there is always “hope that some change can occur midstream”.
Related posts
Today marks the first day of the pre-synod meetings where over 300 young people from all over the world, convened in Rome to have a frank conversation with the Pope about the future of the Catholic ch ...read more
This weekend, the Pope will make a quick trip to the town where St. Padre Pio was born and lived his life, and where his work continues to mark the year of the 50th anniversary of St. Padre Pio’s de ...read more
Gauging The Francis Impact
Read Sebastian Gomes' reflection on Pope Francis. What are his greatest accomplishments? What opportunities have been missed? ...read more
While church authorities in El Salvador said they would wait to give details of the Vatican-approved miracle, a Salvadoran newspaper recently published an account of a 35-year-old woman who said it wa ...read more
Pope Francis’ First General Audience: Open the doors of your heart
Pope Francis gave his first General Audience on March. 27, 2013 at St. Peter's Square. Let's look back at his first General Audience, as we continue to celebrate the Popes 5 Year Anniversary since his ...read more