Pope Francis on Saturday warned energy resources must not be allowed to fall prey to unscrupulous financial speculation or to become a source of conflict in a message to Expo 2017, taking place in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The theme of the expo is “Future Energy,” which is appropriate, given the petroleum industry makes up over 60 percent of Kazakhstan’s economy.
September 3 was the Expo’s “national day” for the Vatican, which has a pavilion in Astana with the theme “Energy for the Common Good: Caring for our Common Home,” using the subtitle of Francis’s ecological encyclical Laudato si’.
In his message, Francis said “serious and responsible reflection” is demanded on how humanity in the future can draw on innovative technologies to make wise use of the energy resources.
“We are all conscious of the fact that our use of those resources is critical for the health of our world and the welfare of our societies, a welfare that needs to be viewed in integral terms, and not simply as economic prosperity or greater capacity for consumption,” the pope said. “We must act now to ensure that energy is used to improve our lives and to cause our human family to flourish, for by nature we are called to fruitful interaction, solidarity and love.”
The pontiff said preventing energy resources from falling prey to unscrupulous financial speculation or becoming a source of conflict calls for “broad-ranging and frank dialogue” among different sectors of society, including religion.
Francis called on all religious traditions to discover within themselves the inspiration and criteria necessary to foster a commitment to persevere in bettering relations and living together as brothers and sisters.
“The way we use energy resources is a sign of how well we are carrying out the task that, according to many religious traditions, has been entrusted to us by God, namely to care for the world around us and for our fellow human beings of every time and place,” the pope continued.
“If our generation and use of energy are sustainable and grounded in solidarity, we are doing our job well. Otherwise, we are not. At stake is our very dignity; at stake too are justice and peace,” Francis said.
— EXPO 2017 Astana Int (@Expo2017_Int) September 2, 2017
The Astana Expo began on June 10, and concludes September 10. Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, served as the papal envoy for the event.
The Vatican pavilion sought to develop four thematic areas: The love of God as the origin of the creation of man and of the earth; energy as a tool placed in the hands of man, who has not always made adequate use of it; energy directed towards the development of the person and the care of the common home; and the strength of spirituality, with particular reference to prayer, the search for meaning, and interreligious dialogue.
To achieve this, it promoted five pillars for responsible energy conservation:
- Energy is a common good of all mankind.
- Every human being is responsible for it and must contribute to global energy.
- Energy management must foster peace and not conflict.
- The main goal of energy is fostering human development.
- Cooperation between people of all faiths is instrumental to universal access to energy.
Expo 2017 is the latest of the biennial World’s Fairs, which began with the Great Exposition at the Crystal Palace in London in 1851. The United States has hosted several of the events, most famously in 1893 in Chicago and 1904 in St. Louis.
The Vatican has been involved in the exhibitions from the beginning, and the Papal States under Blessed Pius IX even sponsored a pavilion at the original event in London.