Great Prophetess Greta Thunberg has Episcopal Fan Club

With the news that Helsinki University has awarded "Saint" Greta an honorary doctorate, I retrieved from the archive the queue of Bishops who lined up to praise her in 2019.

Bishops on Greta Thunberg

"Church must be an advocate for the 'Fridays for Future' movement".

Climate activist Greta Thunberg meets the Pope. And before her visit to the Vatican, the Swedish schoolgirl is receiving a lot of encouragement from Germany: several Catholic bishops are impressed by her.

Catholic bishops in Germany have praised global student protests for greater environmental protection ahead of a visit by climate activist Greta Thunberg to Pope Francis. "I believe the Church must be an advocate for the 'Fridays for Future' movement," said Hildesheim Bishop Heiner Wilmer. "Climate protection concerns everyone. Therefore, words and declarations of intent must be followed by action. Greta Thunberg and her fellow campaigners are quite right to remind politicians of this."

Bishop Heinrich Timmerevers of Dresden was also impressed by the climate movement. "I am impressed by the young people who take to the streets week after week under the slogan," said the spiritual leader of the Dresden-Meissen diocese. "Even if the form of the protest can be discussed excellently, the admonition of the young people must wake us up," said Timmerevers. "It is not only they who bear responsibility for the future, we too must consistently stand up for tomorrow."

The fact that thousands of schoolchildren around the world are protesting in the streets on Fridays for more climate protection instead of going to school is still a source of discussion. Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg takes a pragmatic view: "Of course, compulsory schooling, learning and education are also a great good," he said. "Decisive and prompt action by politicians and all those in positions of responsibility worldwide can reconcile the concerns of pupils and compulsory education."

The Catholic Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Gebhard Fürst, is also a Thunberg fan. "I admire Greta Thunberg, and I think it is good that the Pope is meeting her," he said. He was not only concerned with climate protection and a reduction of the greenhouse gas CO2, but also with pressing issues of species extinction and resource consumption.

Ruhr Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck also supports the "Fridays for Future" demos. "It is impressive to see the commitment with which the students are taking the issue of climate protection to the public - even if it sometimes annoys some educators and lawyers for understandable reasons," the Catholic bishop informed. "This protest is at the same time a call to all of us to examine our way of life and concretely implement necessary changes."

Speaking at a conference on climate change, Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke of Eichstätt said, "The fact that hundreds of thousands of young people worldwide are showing great concern for the climate and for the future of the earth makes us sit up and take notice, and makes us aware that our current environmental behaviour is destroying the earth and consuming the future of these young people."

Thunberg meets Pope Francis this Wednesday at the general audience in St Peter's Square in Rome. The 16-year-old also plans to take part in a school strike in Rome on Friday. "I know it's a holiday, but because the climate crisis doesn't go on holiday, neither will we," she wrote on Twitter. Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, is a public holiday in Sweden, but not in Italy.

"Pointing out grievances and undesirable developments".

For months, the schoolgirl has been protesting on Fridays for more climate protection. Thousands of pupils have already followed her example. The Bishop of Berlin, Heiner Koch, recently caused a stir by bringing the commitment of the students and Thunberg close to biblical traditions of Jesus Christ.

The Friday demonstrations reminded him "a little of the biblical scene of the entry into Jerusalem", he said on RBB radio on Sunday. He was not trying to turn the Swede into a female Messiah. But he wanted to remind people "that our society and also our church need real prophets from time to time who point out grievances and undesirable developments and propose solutions".

According to a spokesperson for the "Fridays for Future" movement, demonstrations took place in 90 places in Germany last week alone. In addition, students of the movement in Berlin recently presented a dossier with specific demands.


Cathcon: I have read all the UN Reports.  I wonder if the Bishops have.