Vatican Audience – November 23 – With our mission many months in the making, Clóvis Cavalcanti and Stuart Scott met in Rome in late November intending to bring ecological economics, and in particular, the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) directly to the awareness of the Holy See, known simply as ‘the Vatican’ throughout the world.
Our initial goal was to obtain an audience with Pope Francis, the world’s foremost leader who both understands and is courageous enough to speak the truth about our immense climate, ecological and social problems, their impact on current and future humanity and life on Earth.
“The ecological crisis, and the large scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species.” – Pope Francis
Through a considerable behind-the-scenes effort, we succeeded in obtaining front row seats at a General Papal Audience on November 23rd. Those in the front two rows at general audiences are privileged to receive a personal greeting from Pope Francis, as well as a few moments to share thoughts, give a gift, or ask for a personal boon or blessing. Clóvis and I would use our time to draw his awareness to ecological economics and the existence of ISEE, seeking to ‘open doors’ for us to those whose functions are pivotal to the Vatican’s work on global social and ecological challenges, in particular, Cardinal Peter Turkson, the public voice for Laudato Si’, said also to be one of its principal authors and spokesperson for what Pope Francis has termed ‘the Human Ecology’, and Bishop Marcello Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences, out of which Laudato Si’ grew.
Thus our strategy to bring ISEE together with the Holy See has three aspects. First we would meet with Pope Francis, either privately (extraordinarily difficult) or in the front section after a General Audience (merely very difficult). Second, we would meet with Cardinal Turkson, and third, with Bishop Sánchez Sorondo. Bishop Sánchez is Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies, out of whose 2014 meeting Laudato Si’ arose, and future initiatives concerning humanity’s ecological and social problems and solutions will come. It is through these two clergymen that we hope to build an affiliation and working relationship. Our future efforts will also be directed to Pope Francis, but will necessarily be about cultivating relationships with Cardinal Turkson and Bishop Sánchez.
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