Pope Francis has rightfully earned a reputation for advocating for the world’s marginalized. Now he’s coming out with a major message that will urge the world to tackle climate change. In it, he also shares his concerns about maintaining biodiversity.
Major news outlets are reporting that Pope Francis will “call for changes in lifestyles and energy consumption” to avert the “unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem.” The information came via a leaked draft of a papal encyclical. An encyclical is a letter or document that shares teachings with church bishops (who then share, via various means, the teachings with wider church membership). What is unusual about this encyclical is that the Pope addresses all the globe’s inhabitants, regardless of religion, writing:
“…I especially propose to enter into discussion with everyone regarding our common home.”
The document will have significant political implications. Per the draft, the pope will align himself with the environmental movement and will also state that “climate change is mostly a man-made problem.” The Pope directly address climate change deniers, writing:
“The attitudes that stand in the way of a solution, even among believers, range from negation of the problem, to indifference, to convenient resignation or blind faith in technical solutions.”
This will likely place the Pope at odds with many U.S. politicians, prior to his visit to the U.S. to attend a United Nations meeting and to address a joint meeting of Congress. The pope will also reportedly call for a new “global political authority” to address key environmental issues, which he regards as a critical social justice issue.
“Humanity is called to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming, or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it,” he wrote in the draft. “Numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of the global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases … given off above all because of human activity.”
A must read, and a story that we will continue to follow.