Pope Francis to world leaders: 'listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor'

Pope Francis has called for world leaders to 'listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor', ahead of tomorrow's World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, which will feature a joint statement with Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Bartholomew I.

ReutersOn Friday Pope Francis will release an ecumenical statement with the Orthodox Church about caring for the environment.

Pope Francis said yesterday that a full message about the importance of environmental care, from both him and 'our dear brother Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople', would be released Friday, according to Vatican Radio.

'In [the message],' the pontiff said, 'we invite all to assume a respectful and responsible attitude towards Creation.'

He added that they 'also appeal, to all who occupy influential roles, to listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor, who suffer most from ecological imbalances.'

The Pope instituted September 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in the Catholic calendar in 2015, in an ecumenical move that joined the Orthodox Church – which has marked the day since 1989.

Pope Francis has frequently made humanity's relationship to the environment a central theme of his pontificate. In 2015 he released the major encyclical Laudato Si, in which the pope called for a committed fight against global warming to protect 'our common home'. In 2016, Francis proposed adding care for the natural world to the seven 'works of mercy' Catholics are meant to perform.