In a recent discussion, Pope Francis' deputy, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State, said the world would need to develop a new model of economic development. The Vatican believes this new model must marry economic growth with plans to combat poverty by seeking ways to use resources in a sustainable manner.
Cardinal Parolin, speaking on behalf of the Pope, went on to indicate that both political and economic commitments would be necessary for this plan to work, but that the Vatican believes it is the only way to ensure the health of the planet for future generations. Such changes have been slow to occur, and the Vatican wishes to push the dialogue along in order to facilitate the change in the global population's mindset necessary to make these sorts of commitments possible.
In a report by the Durango Herald, Parolin is quoted as saying, "When the future of the planet is at stake, there are no political frontiers, barriers or walls behind which we can hide to protect ourselves from the effects of environmental and social degradation … There is no room for the globalization of indifference, the economy of exclusion or the throwaway culture so often denounced by Pope Francis."
The Secretary of State's remarks came during a conference of business and church leaders on the topic of sustainable actions to drive the economic growth needed to lift people out of poverty. This has been a common theme during Pope Francis's term as head of the Catholic Church, and expected to be the subject of his environment encyclical, to be released in the coming weeks.
Pope Francis has publicly endorsed economic development models that provide employment and opportunity to the poor while simultaneously utilizing new technologies that are cleaner, more energy efficient, and produce less carbon. However, many fear that these types of initiatives may fall out of favor due to short-term concerns by countries around the world about immediate economic growth and job transitions. Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who heads the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, has cited these fears as the biggest factor in preventing such changes, but he refers to the findings of a study by the commission finding just the opposite.
According to Calderon, "We can foster economic growth and mitigate climate risk at the same time...In fact, this is the only way to achieve long-term, sustained economic growth, and through it to alleviate poverty for the millions of souls that need, demand and deserve it."