Exploitation of the earth is ‘our sin’, says Francis

Pope Francis has called for more respect for nature, saying that the destruction of South America's rain forests and other forms of environmental exploitation are ‘a sin of modern times’.

In an address to students, farmers and redundant workers at the University of Molise, an agricultural region of southern Italy, the Pope said the earth should be allowed to give her fruits without being exploited. “This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation,” he said.

'When I look at America, also my own homeland (South America), so many forests, all cut, that have become land ... that can longer give life. This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to give us what she has within her,' the Pope said in unprepared remarks.

Pope Francis is currently writing an encyclical on man's relationship with nature.

Photo: Pope Francis addresses students in the Molise region of Italy, credit: AFP/ Andreas Solaro