Pope Francis said the current coronavirus pandemic could be 'nature's response' to the climate crisis.
The Pope commented on the current COVID-19 situation in an interview with The Tablet.
When asked whether he saw the crisis as an opportunity for 'an ecological conversion', the Pope said:
"There is an expression in Spanish: 'God always forgives, we forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives'.
"We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods? I don't know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature's responses."
He said that 'every crisis contains both danger and opportunity: the opportunity to move out from the danger'.
"Today I believe we have to slow down our rate of production and consumption (Laudato Si', 191) and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world," he added, "We need to reconnect with our real surroundings. This is the opportunity for conversion."
Last year the Pope was challenged to go vegan for Lent in exchange for a $1 million donation to a charity of his choice.
The challenge was issued by Genesis Butler, a 12-year-old vegan campaigner.
In a letter to Pope she wrote:
"Today, Pope Francis, I am asking you to join me in abstaining from all animal products throughout Lent,' the 40 days of penance and fasting before Easter Sunday observed by Catholics, Anglicans and Orthodox Christians.
"Your Holiness, we must act. Moving towards a plant-based diet will protect our land, trees, oceans and air, and help feed the world's most vulnerable."
A petition asking Pope Francis to say yes to the challenge was signed by nearly 85,000 people.
The Pope replied in a letter to Genesis, saying that he cared about the issues and that she was in his prayers.
"His Holiness Pope Francis has received your letter, and he has asked me to thank you," said the response.
"He appreciates the concerns about care for the world, our common home, which prompted you to write to him.
"The Holy Father will remember you in his prayers, and he sends you his blessing."
Vatican declined to say whether the Pope had actually accepted the challenge.