‘Pope has no political agenda’ – Manila Archbishop

Aika Rey

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‘Pope has no political agenda’ – Manila Archbishop
'Hindi tatakbo sa United Nations si Pope,' Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle says, explaining that Francis has no political agenda for writing Laudato Si

MANILA, Philippines – Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle clarified that Pope Francis has no political agenda for writing Laudato Si (Be Praised), the latest papal encyclical on climate change.

A forum was held Thursday, August 13, at the Ateneo de Manila University discussing Laudato Si and its environmental challenges in the Philippine setting.

Laudato Si (Be Praised) is the second encyclical of Pope Francis. It discusses the reality and impact of climate change on vulnerable societies and calls for necessary action.

“The agenda of the church, as verbalized by Pope Francis, is not in order to exert any political power or influence but to invite people to tackle this issue coming from interdisciplinarity,” said Tagle. (READ: Q & A: Pope’s green thesis: a global game-changer?)

This was in response to the question of Antonio La Viña, the Dean of the Ateneo School of Government, when he asked whether the church has a political agenda on the climate change issue. 

Hindi tatakbo sa United Nations si Pope,” Tagle jokingly told the audience. (The Pope will not run for the United Nations.)

Sustainable development goals

Benjamin Tolosa, a political economy professor at the Ateneo, said that the church not having a political agenda, problems on climate change require a “global governance response.” (READ: Tagle on Pope’s encyclical: Review policies, lifestyles)

“That’s why we need to have a political agenda which may not be [directly] coming from the Pope,” he said. (READ: PH named country most affected by climate change in 2013)

Edgar Chua, country chairman of Shell Philippines, answered this question by acknowledging the work of the United Nations.

“There are many global initiatives like the Conference of Parties (COP) meeting at the end of the year with countries coming up with their own commitments,” he said.

Chua also added that the end of 2015 signals the transition of the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals. (READ: Climate change key focus in UN’s new dev’t goals)

“Any global initiative is not easy. We need to get many stakeholders that’s why interdisciplinarity should come in action-setting,” he added. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.