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Is the Vatican the Right Place to Preach About Climate Change? Pope Francis Thinks So.

Posted June 18th, 2015 at 1:17 pm (UTC-4)
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Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment

Statement by the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

The Pope’s powerful encyclical calls for a common response to the critical threat climate change poses to our common home. His plea for all religious to work together reflects the urgency of the challenge. The faith community – in the United States and abroad — has a long history of environmental stewardship and aiding the poor, and Pope Francis has thoughtfully applied those same values to the very real threat our planet is facing today.

The devastating impacts of climate change – like heat waves, damaging floods, coastal sea level rise and historic droughts – are already taking place, threatening the habitat all humans and other creatures depend on to survive. We have a responsibility to meet this challenge and prevent the worst impacts. As stewards of our planet, we can all work together to manage our resources sustainably and ensure that the poorest among us are resilient to climate change. We have the overwhelming body of peer-reviewed science to show us what is causing this problem, and we are equipped with the tools and resources to begin solving it.

Engagement on this issue from a wide range of voices is all the more important as we strive to reach a global climate agreement this December in Paris.

Pope Francis' new encyclical titled "Laudato Si (Be Praised), On the Care of Our Common Home", is displayed during the presentation news conference at the Vatican on June 18, 2015. (Reuters)

Pope Francis’ new encyclical titled “Laudato Si (Be Praised), On the Care of Our Common Home”, is displayed during the presentation news conference at the Vatican on June 18, 2015. (Reuters)

US Must Take the Lead on Pope Francis’ Call on Climate Change

Sen Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) – The Boston Globe

It should be no surprise that the Catholic Church is elevating the issue of climate change. By choosing Pope Francis as leader, the Church has given us a Jesuit trained in chemistry who is devoted to the poor and ensuring environmental justice….

America must lead this effort.

We must continue to improve the fuel efficiency of automobiles. We must deploy more wind and solar energy and renew tax breaks for these projects. We must implement and defend President Obama’s Clean Power Plan that will reduce carbon emissions from America’s power plants. The United States can be the leader in the technological revolution to reduce the pollution imperiling our planet, and then we can partner with other nations to share this technology and protect the most vulnerable.

Pope Francis and the Movement to Act on Climate

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) – The Hill

What do Pope Francis, the United States military and former Secretary of State George Shultz have in common?  They all believe climate change is real, mostly caused by humans and responsible for the unprecedented destruction of our planet’s precious ecosystems.

When leaders and institutions not normally associated with environmental causes come together to tackle climate change, the tipping point for significant action on climate is near.

Pope Francis states that a failure to urgently address Earth’s “great concentration of greenhouse gasses” means “grave consequences for us all.”  For Pope Francis, addressing climate change is key to tackling global poverty and environmental ruin.

Video of Pope Francis’s Encyclical Unveiled at Vatican

Pope Francis’ New Encyclical Is About Climate Change — and Much More

Christopher White – New York Daily News

In the lead-up to the encyclical’s release, much of the attention has been focused on the question of climate change. Francis believes that there is a “very solid scientific consensus” that climate change is real and occurs “mainly as a result of human activity.”

Yet he does not align himself with those who think that people are the problem as a drain on the natural world. Instead, he pointedly notes that “to blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.”

It’s his concern for the poor, a constant theme throughout his papacy, that makes him champion these issues. It is, after all, the poor and vulnerable who suffer the most from abuses to our environment, and it’s Francis’ deeply held Catholic conviction that the earth — and all of creation — is not ours to own, use, and abuse, but is a gift from God that must be protected and preserved to point us back to the Creator.

Environmental activists carry a banner as they march towards a Roman Catholic church coinciding with Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change on June 18, 2015 in Manila. (AP)

Environmental activists carry a banner as they march towards a Roman Catholic church coinciding with Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change on June 18, 2015 in Manila. (AP)


The Pope Believes in Climate Change

Amy Sullivan – Foreign Policy

In this case, Francis’s time in the streets, among the poor of Buenos Aires — and more recently, Rome’s homeless — taught him about the ways in which environmental degradation disproportionately impacts those with the least resources….

It’s no secret that these are not the priorities at the top of many conservative Catholic lists. Like many political conservatives, particularly in the United States, conservative Catholics have resisted the idea that climate change is man-made. And heading into a GOP primary battle that features several Republican Catholics — Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Rick Santorum among them — they would prefer not to have climate change edging out sexual ethics as the most visible “Catholic” issue. (Just this week, Bush responded to the encyclical’s imminent release by opining that religion should stay out of politics. “I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope,” Bush said.)

… At their annual meeting last week, the bishops considered a list of proposed future priorities: family and marriage, religious freedom, evangelism, and abortion and euthanasia. There was no mention in their document of the poor, no mention of the environment.

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