Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham meets the Pope to discuss climate change

A delegation from Greater Manchester have visited the Vatican to meet with the Pope to discuss climate change.

The Bishop of Salford, Rt Rev. John Arnold, the Dean of Manchester and Mayor Andy Burnham had a private audience amongst civic and religious leaders attending.

They presented Pope Francis with some Heavenly Honey – made by bees from both Salford and Manchester Cathedrals.

He was also given a shirt of Manchester United and Manchester City. Pope Francis was clearly thrilled to receive a signed Manchester United shirt with a message from Lisandro Martinez. The shirt carried a personal message from Martinez that read, in Spanish, “Your holiness, with much love, Licha”.

The Greater Manchester delegation in the Vatican. Credit: Manchester Cathedral

Dean of Manchester Rogers Govender said: “It is an honour to go to The Vatican in thepresence of the Holy Father to reflect and share wisdom on one of the most pressing issues of our era, the climate crisis.

“In Manchester and the wider borough, faith leaders have been working to address these issues for more than a decade.

“As Greater Manchester continues to grow, we cannot avoid the challenges of carbon reduction and the impact on the environment.

“It is this desire to work together across faith communities, and the political and civic sectors that needs greater action.

The delegation in their private audience with the Pope. Credit: Chris Trott

Andy Burnham, who is Catholic,  said: “This is the first time that all the faith leaders of Greater Manchester have come together with civic leaders to agree our pledge for a greener Greater Manchester region.

“It will give me great pride to be at The Vatican to witness the historic moment our faith and civic leaders make our commitment to the Holy Father.”

During their meeting at The Vatican, the group made a pledge with Pope Francis to:

  • Support the use of renewable technology and accelerate the decarbonisation ofplaces of worship.

  • Use land to help heal nature and increase biodiversity.

  • Encourage communities to engage in proactive transformational behaviouralchange.