A Roman Weekend to Remember
Rome is unusually quiet these days. Few tourists. And their absence even seems to have calmed (somewhat) the (normally) loud Romans themselves. Crossing a street in Italy’s capital used to be something like a bullfight: you had to gauge how close you could come to the charging beasts if you wanted to live to fight another day. But – is it just my own illusion? – in the absence of crowds, even Roman drivers show a certain – dare one say? – calm. It’s all unexpected, unnatural, and almost soothing, unless you care about what’s going on in the global public square and more particularly in the Vatican.
This weekend, Rome hosted the “Pre-COP26 Parliamentary Meeting,” which is to say the meeting before the 26thmeeting of the Conference of the Parties to the 1994 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (pause for breath) scheduled later this month in Scotland. Pope Francis was supposed to be in Glasgow, but the Vatican recently announced he won’t, perhaps for health reasons.
Caring for Creation is serious business, involving our stewardship of the planet, which God commanded in the first pages of Genesis. (1:26-28) However much radicals activists have distorted that responsibility, a proper environmentalism reminds us of our relationship to the Creation and the Creator. Genesis also says in the same passage “male and female he created them” and “be fruitful and multiply.” That part of the divine commission rarely turns up in environmental confabs, even when Christians participate – to say nothing of the Holy See’s own efforts at “integral human development.”