Pope Francis, who comes from Argentina, known for its beef production and consumption, said that in some parts of the world, it would be a good idea to “consume less meat” to help save the environment. The pope also condemned the war in Ukraine saying that in such cases it was legitimate to rebel.
Addressing participants of a European Youth Conference in Prague, the pope said, “don’t let yourselves be seduced by the sirens that propose a life of luxury reserved for a small slice of the world,” inviting them to instead have a “broad outlook” that can take in all the rest of humanity, “which is much bigger than our little European continent.”
We are to lead a life of “dignity and sobriety,” empty of luxury and waste, so that everyone can lead a dignified existence.
“There is an urgent need to reduce the consumption not only of fossil fuels but also of so many superfluous things,” he said. “In certain areas of the world, too, it would be appropriate to consume less meat: This too can help save the environment.”
Even though there have been several leading voices in support of a reduction in meat consumption, this is the first time the Argentine pontiff has made such proposal. It was absent, for instance, from his environmental manifesto Laudato Si’.
Argentines are among the world's largest consumers of meat, together with neighboring Uruguay, Australia and United States.
Francis also said it is “legitimate to rebel” when a “few powerful people” decide to send them to “fight and die” in a war. He defined the fighting in Ukraine as “senseless,” and argued that if younger generations governed today, there wouldn’t be as many global conflicts.
The numerous conflicts taking place in different parts of the world, shows that an educational pact that promotes fraternity is urgent,” and in his appeal to young Europeans invited them to try to transform “the old continent” into a “new” one, by following proposals outlined in the Global Education Pact, an alliance among educators around the world launched in September 2019.
The pope also referred to a better world if ruled by women, “because those who have the mission of giving life cannot make death choices” – the same would be true if the rulers were young people, because they wouldn’t want the future awaiting them to be thrown away.