Swedish teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg visited Pope Francis this week and received his blessing to continue her school strikes protesting inaction on the issue.
According to LifeSiteNews, Thunberg was seated in the VIP section at Pope Francis’ Wednesday audience. When the Roman Pontiff approached her toward the end, she held up her sign that read: “Join the climate strike.”
“Thank you for standing up for the climate, for speaking the truth,” Thunberg reportedly told Francis. “It means a lot.”
“Continue, continue,” Francis told her. “Go on, go ahead.”
Later, Thunberg posted a video of herself in Rome in which she praised Pope Francis for his support. “He told us that we should continue, like we do now,” she said. “And he supports the school strike, the big school strike that is happening May 24, which also happened to be on anniversary of Laudato Si.”
“And so I urge you to join the climate strike,” she continued. “And we will take it to the streets and we will continue to fight for our future until the politicians do something.”
CBS News also featured a photo of Pope Francis posing alongside Thunberg holding up her sign, which stems from her staging climate change protests with schoolchildren.
“Thunberg’s sign was promoting an upcoming international school strike for late May and it paid homage to Francis’ eco encyclical, stating, ‘Celebrate Laudato Si’ on May 24, which happens to be the anniversary of the document’s 2015 release,” reports LifeSiteNews. “Her school strikes have involved hundreds of thousands of students in more than 100 countries, the CBS report said, with children leaving their classes to protest perceived lack of action by government on the climate issue.”
On Good Friday, Thunberg staged another protest, seeming to denounce the idea of taking a break while climate change persists. “I know it’s a holiday, but since the climate crisis doesn’t go on vacation nor will we,” Thunberg said on Instagram.
Not only has Thunberg been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, but Time Magazine also named her one of the world’s 100 most influential people in April.
Thunberg is not the only activist that Pope Francis has encouraged following a private audience. Last year, socialist filmmaker Michael Moore told late-night host Seth Meyers that the pope encouraged him to make movies while denouncing today’s capitalism as a sin.
I went to the weekly audience, and then he asked to speak to me privately. It was an amazing moment, and I asked him if I could ask him a question. And he said, ‘Yes.’
And I said, ‘Do you believe that an economic system that benefits the few, the wealthy at the expense of the many is a sin?’ And he said to me, ‘Si’ in Italian. And I said, ‘So you believe capitalism, the kinda — the capitalism we have now is a sin?’ He goes, ‘Yes, it is.’ He said, ‘The poor must always come first.’
Following that, Pope Francis allegedly revealed himself as a fan of Michael Moore’s, encouraging him to make more movies.
“And then he grabbed my hand and he said, ‘Please, pray for me.’ And I said, ‘I will, and please pray for me. And he said, ‘No, you have to make more movies.’ And I’m like, ‘I just wanted a prayer.’ He’s like, ‘No, you go back to — you go back work.’ He has a sense of humor,” Moore told late-night host Seth Meyers.