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VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican once again turned off its external lights for an hour this weekend to “raise awareness of respect for Our Mother Earth.”

In a statement issued to journalists accredited to the Holy See late Saturday afternoon, Father Enzo Fortunato – the recently appointed director of communications for St. Peter’s Basilica – announced the darkening of the basilica that evening: 

On the occasion of the Earth Hour initiative, the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica will be turned off this evening for one hour starting at 8:30 pm. A symbolic gesture to raise awareness and inspire women and men of our time to respect Our Mother Earth and to take action against the climate crisis. 

Fortunato, coordinator of the upcoming World Children’s Day and former director of the press office in Basilica of Assisi, pointed to Pope Francis’ ecological encyclical Laudato Si’:

In his Encyclical Laudato Si’ Pope Francis reminds us that the ecological issue must be centered on ethics and social justice and that what is happening to the earth, “our common home,” is an unprecedented challenge that concerns our responsibility to others and future generations. 

Fortunato attested that by turning off the lights at the papal Basilica “we unite in prayer and action, testifying to our willingness to protect the ‘common home’ that God has entrusted to us, so that after this brief darkness, the light as a sign of hope for a sustainable future in harmony with creation.”

The Vatican has taken part in the annual ecological virtue signaling event since at least 2009. “Earth Hour” is organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and began in 2007 in Australia when more than 2.2 million people turned off their lights to express their shared concern for “climate change.” 

Announcing the 2024 event, the WWF stated “[n]ever has it been more important to show our leaders we must tackle the nature and climate crisis with urgent action.” They described the event as “a moment of unity that brings the world together, shines a spotlight on the climate and nature crisis, and inspires people to act and advocate for urgent change.”

Pope Francis has made “climate change” a key aspect of his 11-year pontificate, in his official writings, speeches, and interventions. In what was set to be the culmination of all of his “climate change” activism, Francis was due to attend the COP28 climate conference in Dubai last November. However, due to ill health, he had to cancel the trip less than two days before he was intended to leave.

Shortly before that, Francis released a follow up to Laudato Si’ – the apostolic exhoration Laudate Deum – in which he issued stark calls for “obligatory” measures across the globe to address the issue of “climate change.”

“It is no longer possible to doubt the human – ‘anthropic’ – origin of climate change,” wrote the pontiff, before later calling for mandatory alignment with green policies:

If there is sincere interest in making COP28 a historic event that honors and ennobles us as human beings, then one can only hope for binding forms of energy transition that meet three conditions: that they be efficient, obligatory and readily monitored.

READ: Pope Francis calls for obligatory global ‘climate change’ policies in new document ‘Laudate Deum’

The pope’s personal commitment to the “climate change” agenda is well documented, and has emerged as one of the central themes of his ten-year reign. His continued promotion of the Paris Agreement, which underpins the majority of the current “climate change” agenda, comes despite the agreement’s fundamentally pro-abortion principles which connect to the stated U.N. goal of creating a universal “right” to abortion in line with Goal No. 5.6 of the organization’s Sustainable Development Goals.

READ: Pope Francis calls for an ‘end’ to ‘the era of fossil fuel’ in Prayer for Creation message

Francis has also gone as far as to sign the Vatican up to the principles of the agreement in 2022. His previous environmental text, Laudato Si’, led to the birth of a global movement that links “climate change” activism to the pope’s words. The Laudato Si’ Movement issues calls to divest from fossil fuels, and aims to “turn Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si’ into action for climate and ecological justice.”