Vatican hails Greta Thunberg ‘great witness’ of Church’s teaching

FILE PHOTO: Swedish activist Greta Thunberg participates in a youth climate change protest in front of the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S., August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon/File Photo

On Thursday, top Vatican officials hailed Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, recently named TIME Magazine’s “Person of the Year” for her environmental advocacy, as a “great witness” of Church teaching on care for creation and the human person.

Speaking to reporters at the publication of Pope Francis’s message for the 2020 World Day of Peace, celebrated on New Year’s Day annually, Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Vatican office for Integral Human Development, called Thunberg “a great witness to what the Church teaches on the care of the environment and the care of the person.”

“It’s a coherence with the Church’s teaching,” he said, adding that care of the environment is also a matter of faith.

Asked whether she was a model of the “ecological conversion” the Pope calls for in the message, Turkson insisted that her activism brings attention to the Church’s insistence that “attention to the poor and society also coincide with care for the environment, the common home.”