Pope sends shoes to Paris for COP21 rally

Symbolic act of solidarity: shoes from Pope Francis
Symbolic act of solidarity: shoes from Pope Francis

At the weekend, tens of thousands of people around the world expressed their determination that world leaders meeting at the COP21 talks in Paris take decisive and positive action over climate change. They took to the streets of capital cities including London, but the demonstration in the French capital itself became symbolic, rather than a mass rally.

Since gatherings had been cancelled following the terrorist attacks last month, people instead placed pairs of shoes where they would have stood. Among them were black lace-ups with a label that bore the signature 'Franciscus' - His Holiness Pope Francis - and the motif 'Laudato Si'. They were flanked by pairs of shoes from two Cardinals, including Cardinal Cláudio Hummes of Brazil.

Solidarity and a global effort

Among those who attended the London rally that processed from Hyde Park to the Houses of Parliament were staff and supporters of Jesuit Missions. "The fact that the Paris march was cancelled seemed to add a certain poignancy to proceedings," said Clara Sheaf from Jesuit Missions. "And, by marching on their behalf, (it) reminded us that both solidarity and a coordinated global effort are needed in the fight against climate change."

Read more about what Pope Francis has said about the environment and Jesuit initiatives on climate change around the world in the current edition of Jesuits and Friends.