With Lent underway, Pope Francis has responded to the plea from vegan activist Genesis Butler for him to go vegan during the 40 day period.
The campaign for him to go vegan was for him to display leadership by sharing the benefits of the vegan lifestyle, and more importantly, raise awareness of the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet.
If Pope Francis goes vegan for Lent, $1 million will be donated to a charity (or charities) of His Holiness’ choice. The Pope has not yet confirmed whether he will adopt a plant-based diet yet, and the campaign is asking for him to meet with Genesis over a meal during the Lenten period.
The Pope’s response, signed by senior priest and assessor for general affairs, Paolo Borgia, says: “His Holiness Pope Francis has received your letter, and he has asked me to thank you. 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.”
Butler responded to his letter via a video, saying: “Your Holiness, I am truly humbled with gratitude by your acknowledgement of my request to observe a vegan Lent. Thank you so very much for blessing me and keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. It means more to me than I can ever express in words.”
Matthew Glover, CEO of Million Dollar Vegan and co-founder of Veganuary, says: “We are grateful that Pope Francis was able to take the time to respond to Genesis, but we are now politely requesting that His Holiness takes action to address the issues of climate change, loss of biodiversity, species extinction, animal suffering and world hunger – all of which are linked to animal agriculture – by meeting with Genesis and discussing these issues.
“We would like His Holiness to consider what Jesus would say about factory farming, and also the fact that – according to research from Oxford University – we can reduce our personal greenhouse gas emissions by around 30-50 per cent by adopting a plant-based diet.”