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Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew: 'Hear the cry of the Earth'

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the Eastern Orthodox Church issued a joint statement today asking for "all people of goodwill to dedicate a time of prayer for the environment" on this World Day of Prayer for Creation.

They also appealed to "those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth."

It's the latest statement from two Christian spiritual leaders who actively advocate on various environmental issues, including climate change.

The pope and patriarch said that "God intended humanity to cooperate in the preservation and protection of the natural environment," but moral decay has altered mankind's "attitude and behavior towards creation" with "tragic and lasting" consequences.

"Our propensity to interrupt the world’s delicate and balanced ecosystems, our insatiable desire to manipulate and control the planet’s limited resources, and our greed for limitless profit in markets – all these have alienated us from the original purpose of creation," the joint statement said. "We no longer respect nature as a shared gift; instead, we regard it as a private possession. We no longer associate with nature in order to sustain it; instead, we lord over it to support our own constructs."

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That, the leaders said, has resulted in a deterioration of both humans and the natural environment, which disproportionately affects the world's "most vulnerable."

"An objective of our prayer is to change the way we perceive the world in order to change the way we relate to the world," the statement said. "The goal of our promise is to be courageous in embracing greater simplicity and solidarity in our lives."

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