The Vatican has confirmed that the Pope won’t be in Glasgow for COP26 next month.
It was confirmed on Friday that its delegation at the climate summit will instead be led by secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Pope Francis had previously indicated that he hoped to attend the event, which will also host US President Joe Biden and the Queen, when it kicks off on Sunday, October 31.
Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican Press Office, said: “I can specify that the delegation will be led by His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of His Holiness.”
Pope Francis has had recent health issues that may have played a part in him deciding not to make the trip.
The 84-year-old recently underwent colon surgery in Rome.
COP26 will run for two weeks at the city’s Scottish Event Campus and is expected to host around 120 world leaders.
Alistair Dutton, director of Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, said: “We’re gutted the Pope can’t join us for COP here in Glasgow, as I’m sure Catholics throughout Scotland will be.
“Most importantly, it’s an enormous disappointment for everyone who had hoped that Pope Francis would inspire world leaders to really grasp the nettle and tackle the climate emergency. Pope Francis has always been clear that we all have an urgent collective responsibility to tackle the climate crisis.
“While he won’t be in Glasgow to look them in the eye, his teaching stands as a clear moral call not to shirk their responsibilities for all peoples and the planet that is our common home.
“Coming from Latin America, Pope Francis has always been a vocal champion of those on the frontline of the climate crisis, and we must ensure that their voices are front and centre at COP26.
“It is the world’s poorest who are facing devasting consequences, like droughts and floods, that are driving them from their homes, robbing them of their food and plunging them ever deeper into extreme poverty.
“But it’s not all doom and gloom. From SCIAF’s work around the world we know how communities are tackling the effects of climate change. With real global ambition we can turn the tide, and we must do so at COP26.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country