"It seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation," Francis said.

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

President Obama welcomed Pope Francis to the White House Wednesday morning to loud cheers from thousands gathered to greet the leader of the Catholic church—in a city that has virtually shut down for the historic event. The ceremony marks the first time that Pope Francis has visited the United States and kicks off a much anticipated three-city tour that includes Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City.

During his first address in the United States, Francis pulled no punches when talking about one of the defining issues of his leadership, calling on Americans to protect our "common home" and act on climate change with a sense of urgency—a stance that many Republicans have criticized.

"It seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation," Francis said, in slow but forceful English.

"We know by faith that the Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home."

He is scheduled to speak before Congress on Thursday, where he is expected bring his climate agenda directly to lawmakers.

President Obama also took the opportunity to praise Francis's stance on climate change, telling the pope: "you remind us that we have a sacred obligation to protect our planet—God's magnificent gift to us." Watch below:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    The Last Daycares Standing

    In places where most child cares and schools have closed, in-home family daycares that remain open aren’t seeing the demand  — or the support — they expected.

  2. photo: a For Rent sign in a window in San Francisco.
    Coronavirus

    Do Landlords Deserve a Coronavirus Bailout, Too?

    Some renters and homeowners are getting financial assistance during the economic disruption from the coronavirus pandemic. What about landlords?

  3. Equity

    We'll Need To Reopen Our Cities. But Not Without Making Changes First.

    We must prepare for a protracted battle with coronavirus. But there are changes we can make now to prepare locked-down cities for what’s next.

  4. photo: South Korean soldiers attempt to disinfect the sidewalks of Seoul's Gagnam district in response to the spread of COVID-19.
    Coronavirus

    Pandemics Are Also an Urban Planning Problem

    Will COVID-19 change how cities are designed? Michele Acuto of the Connected Cities Lab talks about density, urbanization and pandemic preparation.  

  5. An African healthcare worker takes her time washing her hands due to a virus outbreak/.
    Coronavirus

    Why You Should Stop Joking That Black People Are Immune to Coronavirus

    There’s a fatal history behind the claim that African Americans are more resistant to diseases like Covid-19 or yellow fever.

×