Vatican announces Pope won’t attend COP26 climate summit

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Oct. 8 (UPI) — The Vatican announced Friday that Pope Francis won’t be leading a delegation to the COP26 climate summit in Scotland at the end of this month.

Instead, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, will head the delegation.

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The pontiff would have been the first to attend a COP summit, and his visit was going to include a visit with Queen Elizabeth. The 84-year-old also would have met with bishops and clergy.

“We’re gutted the Pope can’t join us for COP here in Glasgow, as I’m sure Catholics throughout Scotland will be,” Alistair Dutton, director of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, told The Tablet.

“Most importantly, it’s an enormous disappointment for everyone who had hoped that Pope Francis would inspire world leaders to really grasp the nettle and tackle the climate emergency.”

The Vatican didn’t disclose further details about the decision, a reversal from the pope’s statement in July indicating that he would attend.