Washington D.C., 18 September, 2023 / 12:30 pm (ACI Africa).
During a conversation with former President Bill Clinton, Pope Francis urged stronger action on climate change, called for diplomacy instead of war, promoted greater health care access for children, and highlighted the crises facing migrants and refugees.
“It is important to spread a culture of encounter, a culture of dialogue, a culture of listening and of understanding,” Pope Francis said on Monday morning, appearing virtually at the Clinton Foundation’s 2023 Clinton Global Initiative meeting.
Pope Francis was the first of several guests to address the audience at the event in New York City, which was focused on various humanitarian efforts taken up by the nonprofit. The foundation played a video that showed the pope’s involvement with Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital, which is under the jurisdiction of the Holy See, before the former president asked him to “say what you believe about the obligation of ordinary people to make a difference” in society.
“It is necessary to share thoughts on how to contribute to the common good and how not to leave behind the most vulnerable people, such as children who, through the Bambino Gesù Foundation, are at the root of our meeting,” Pope Francis said.
During the conversation, the pope called for action on what he called “the ecological catastrophe” of climate change “before it’s too late.” He said people must take action “while there’s still time” and explained that this is the reason he is writing a new document to follow up on his environmental encyclical Laudato Si’.