Speaking to a group of lawyers on Friday, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church is considering introducing “ecological sin” into the Church’s collection of teaching.
“We must introduce, we think about it, in the catechism of the Catholic Church, sin against ecology, sin against our common home, because it is a duty,” he said.
The pope’s words came just weeks after the conclusion of a bishops’ summit on the Amazon focused on the environmental threat to the region.
François spoke to 20e World Congress of the International Association of Criminal Law, held in Rome from November 13 to 16, within the framework of “Criminal Justice and Business”.
He also said that the culture of waste, combined with other phenomena prevalent in welfare societies, shows the “serious tendency to degenerate into a culture of hate”.
“It is no coincidence that at this time, emblems and actions typical of Nazism reappeared, which, with its persecutions against Jews, gypsies and people of homosexual orientation, represented the negative model par excellence of a culture of waste and hatred, ”François said. .
He also said that on hearing certain speeches from certain governments, although he gave no examples, he “remembered Hitler’s speeches in 1934, in 1936, [heard]today.”
“We must be vigilant, both in the civil sphere and in the ecclesial context, to avoid any possible compromise – supposedly involuntary – with these degenerations”, he declared.
In his remarks on Friday, Francis also criticized “the idolatry of the market” which renders individuals defenseless against the interests of the “deified market” which has become the absolute master, with certain economic sectors wielding more power than the state itself. .
“The principle of profit maximization, isolated from all other considerations, leads to a model of exclusion that violently attacks those who now suffer the social and economic costs, while future generations are condemned to pay the environmental costs. “said Francis.
“The first thing lawyers should ask themselves today is what they can do with their knowledge to counter this phenomenon which endangers democratic institutions and the development of humanity itself,” said he continued.
“Concretely, the current challenge for any criminal lawyer is to contain punitive irrationality”, which the Pope noted manifests itself in mass imprisonment, overcrowding and torture in penitentiary establishments, abuse of the security forces , the criminalization of social protest, the abuse of preventive detention and the repudiation of the most basic penal and procedural guarantees.
The pontiff also condemned the “rare or lack of attention” that the crimes of the most powerful receive, “in particular macro-delinquency of companies”, which he describes as “crimes against humanity” when they These lead to hunger, poverty, migration and death from preventable diseases, environmental disasters and the killing of indigenous peoples.
“Global finance capital is at the root of serious crimes not only against property but also against people and the environment,” Francis said, calling it “organized crime”. He said he is responsible for other things, such as over-indebtedness of states and the plundering of the planet’s natural resources.
Returning to the recently concluded Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, in which the bishops condemned “sins against the environment”, Francis on Friday denounced “ecocide” for which companies are “generally responsible”, urging lawyers to ensure that these crimes do not go unpunished.
By ecocide, he said he meant “massive contamination of air, land and water resources, large-scale destruction of flora and fauna, and any action that could produce ecological disaster or to destroy an ecosystem “.
The loss or destruction of ecosystems in a specific territory, François said, is a fifth category of crimes against peace, which should be recognized as such by the international community.
During his speech, François condemned the abuse of “preventive prison”, with an increase in the number of people imprisoned without a criminal conviction, which even exceeds in several countries the number of people serving judicial sentences; he said it violates the principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty.
He also denounced the “unintentional incitement to violence”, with countries justifying crimes committed by security force agents by asserting that these acts are legitimate means of carrying out their duties.
The legal community, he said, is called upon to prevent this “punitive demagoguery” – often racist or targeting marginalized groups – from escalating into incitement to violence or the disproportionate use of force.
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