How Pope Francis Became the New Al Gore

By Jason Berry
The Week
July 28, 2015

A Vatican conference recently drew mayors from cities across the globe to discuss climate change and modern slavery. The event marked a new turn in Pope Francis' evolution as a global leader and as the rare pope with an activist foreign policy.

Speaking in Spanish and without notes, Francis closed the conference by giving praise to the politicians and asking their help in the face of "growing bands of poverty" around urban areas, which he called "a worldwide phenomenon," according to a Vatican transcript.

"Why do people come to large cities, to the outskirts of large cities, to the slums, shanty towns and favelas?" the pope asked. "It is simply because the rural world does not offer them opportunities."

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who attended the conference, affirmed Francis' message in an email to GroundTruth: "With more and more people moving to cities, mayors are uniquely positioned to innovate solutions to local and global challenges," he wrote. "The pope renewed a sense of hope and possibility for mayors to create equitable solutions."

Francis also called the Congo and Amazon rainforests "the world's great lungs." He coupled deforestation with "unemployment and human trafficking," drew a thread on "slavery in mining" and "the use of certain elements in the purifying of minerals, such as arsenic and cyanide, causing diseases in the population."








Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.