Religious women and men from across Asia who joined the Asia-Oceania Meeting of Religious (AMOR) XVII as seen together in the St. Mary's Cathedral in Yangon on March 1. (Photo courtesy of Aung Maria Goretti)
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon warned that greed is fueling the world's ecological crisis while equating the destructive powers of climate change to that of nuclear weapons.
"Today we face an environmental holocaust. It is a scary moment," Cardinal Bo said in his keynote speech at the Asia-Oceania Meeting of Religious (AMOR) forum in Yangon on Feb. 27.
Just over 130 men and women religious attended the forum held at St. Mary's Cathedral compound Feb. 27-March 3.
"Climate change is an atom bomb waiting to explode," he said.
The 69-year-old cardinal told the forum that greed has unleashed ecological terrorism upon the Earth while adding that the poor are the most affected.
"Who is dying? The poor are dying," he said.
During his speech, Cardinal Bo cited Pope Francis' environmental encyclical Laudato si' and said that degradation to the environment was being caused by "economic terrorists and ecological terrorists."
Overall, Cardinal Bo's speech stressed the forum's theme "Call for Global Ecological Conversion."
Religious participating in the opening ceremony of the AMOR XVII forum held at St. Mary's Cathedral in Yangon on Feb. 27. (Photo courtesy of Aung Maria Goretti)
At the forum, Sister Margaret Maung, president of the Catholic Religious Conference of Myanmar, said action is required to put in place policies that promote sustainability and protect the environment.
Sister Maung told ucanews.com that it was significant that once-isolated Myanmar held the international religious conference.
"It is a special privilege for us to exchanged the ideas about ecology and for each country will draw an action plan on preserving our mother Earth," said Sister Maung.
One of the five objectives of the forum was to undergo in-depth biblico-theological reflection on the challenges posed by Laudato si' and of the Papal Bull Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy) by which Pope Francis convoked the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.
AMRO was founded in 1972 and was created to enable women religious leaders across Asia to meet every three years to exchange ideas. It is AMRO's first meeting in Myanmar.
Impoverished Myanmar is considered the second most vulnerable nation to climate change.