Climate activist Greta Thunberg meets the pope

Greta Thunberg presented the pope with an invitation to take part in the climate strike during his general audience on St. Peter's Square on Wednesday. Francis encouraged the activist to continue her fight against climate change. While some commentators are delighted, others make fun of the meeting.

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taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Support from on high can help

The taz explains why Greta met the pope:

“Simple: Francis has more influence on people than politicians do. ... The Catholic Youth Federation [in Germany] has around 700,000 members, although since the cases of abuse were uncovered it hasn't been all that easy to admit that one is Catholic - not to mention that one is active as an honorary youth worker. ... The youth must also be able to show the pope the way forward. Otherwise the Church will die out once and for all. That, however, would put an end to a key means of international communication. Faith, the Church, and the pope create ties. Francis can offer Greta valuable support in bringing the faithful and climate protection closer together and helping to get initiatives under way among congregations.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Climate a top priority for Francis

Francis is taking the girl seriously, La Repubblica comments approvingly:

“The pope's blessing is a result of this young girl's tenacity. Her determination is well known: for months she demonstrated outside the parliament in Stockholm no matter what the weather, demanding measures against climate change. ... The climate is at the top of Francis's list: for him there can be no Christianity without respect for the environment. Those who accuse him of putting matters of doctrine above environmental issues will have to acknowledge this. The Enzyklika Laudato si says that if there is a government programme in the Vatican, the environment is one of its cornerstones.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

A ridiculous cult

Commenting on the visit Lidové noviny jokes:

“Now even the pope has received Greta, giving Easter a special glamour. Last Sunday Bishop Koch in Berlin compared her with Christ. What emotions! But if Greta's triumphant march reminds some of Jesus's entry into Jerusalem, in the end someone might take it literally and nail her to a cross. But what if on top of everything else she rose from the dead? The students would really get a kick out of that.”