Pope Francis Issues A Bold Call To Action To Slow Man-Made Climate Change
Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, today called for swift action on climate change in a much-anticipated papal encyclical. The sweeping encyclical, which is one of the strongest statements the Catholic Church can make, specifically acknowledges humanity’s role in warming the planet and urges Catholics worldwide to help slow the effects of climate change and protect God’s creation.
Francis called on industrial nations to take action, saying it is the world’s poorest who will be most hurt by the impacts. “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods,” he wrote. “It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”
In the 192-page encyclical, Francis suggests a new partnership between science and the church to combat climate change – a position which brings him directly in conflict with those who have questioned or denied the science. He criticizes the skeptics for their “denial,” a move that could put pressure on Catholic candidates who are seeking the Republican nomination for president. Jeb Bush, who converted to Catholicism 20 years ago, all but dismissed the Pope, arguing that religion “ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting into the political realm.” This stands in stark contrast to just last month when he remarked that “Christians see in nature and all God’s creatures designs grander than any of man’s own devising, the endless glorious work of the Lord of Life. Men and women of your generation are striving to be protectors of Creation, instead of just users.”
Pope Francis has said he hopes the encyclical will help push people to pressure politicians for change.
BOTTOM LINE: The Pope’s encyclical is the intersection of science and faith, a global call to take action on climate change. That so many conservatives continue to deny its existence is not an excuse for America to be idle while the impacts of climate change devastate communities and hurt public health. We have a moral obligation to act.