"The future demands of us critical and global decisions in the face of world-wide conflicts which increase the number of the excluded and those in need." Pope Francis, Address to the Un General Assembly, 25 September 2015.

Pope Francis Addresses the UN General Assembly

Pope Francis addressed the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015. It was the fifth time that a Pope had addressed the United nations. The full text of his speech can be read here.

Pope Francis congratulated the UN on its 70th anniversary, praised its work for peace and cooperation, but noted that reform and adaptations are needed for more equitable participation in its decision-making processes such as the Security Council. Action for care of creation and the excluded was a key theme, along with the prevention of war and the need for nuclear disarmament. He sees all of these issues as interrelated.

Economic & Social Exclusion & the Environment are Linked

"Economic and social exclusion is a complete denial of human fraternity and a grave offense against human rights and the environment. " Pope Francis, Address to the UN General Assembly, 25 September 2015.

"The misuse and destruction of the environment are also accompanied by a relentless process of exclusion.  In effect, a selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged." Pope Francis, Address to the UN General Assembly, 25 September 2015.

  • How do you see connections between environmental destruction and social and economic marginalisation?
  • How might care for creation and social inclusion be mutually supportive?

War Impacts People & the Planet

"War is the negation of all rights and a dramatic assault on the environment.  If we want true integral human development for all, we must work tirelessly to avoid war between nations and between peoples." Pope Francis, Address to the UN General Assembly, 25 September 2015.

" In wars and conflicts there are individual persons, our brothers and sisters, men and women, young and old, boys and girls who weep, suffer and die.  Human beings who are easily discarded when our only response is to draw up lists of problems, strategies and disagreements." Pope Francis, Address to the UN General Assembly, 25 September 2015

  • What are some ways in which war is an assault on the environment, and how does this affect the possibility of integral human development?
  • Might greater awareness of the impact of wars on actual persons help us to respond more effectively?
  • How can we keep the human face of conflict before us?

Nuclear Disarmament

"There is urgent need to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, in full application of the non-proliferation Treaty, in letter and spirit, with the goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons." Pope Francis, Address to the UN General Assembly, 25 September 2015.

  • Why do you think Pope Francis singled out the need for nuclear disarmament for particular attention?

Need for Action

"Our world demands of all government leaders a will which is effective, practical and constant, concrete steps and immediate measures for preserving and improving the natural environment and thus putting an end as quickly as possible to the phenomenon of social and economic exclusion... " Pope Francis, Address to the UN General Assembly, 25 September 2015.

  • How might you encourage your own government, and other governments, to make the issues of environmental degradation and social and economic exclusion higher priorities?

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