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April 28, 2015

Thou Shalt Not Destroy the Earth: Pope Francis & Climate Change.

Flickr/Aleteia Image Department: https://www.flickr.com/photos/113018453@N05/14056932543

“We need to care for the earth so that it may continue, as God willed, to be a source of life for the entire human family.” ~ Pope Francis, via Twitter

 

Pope Francis is such a badass.

He is a Pope who genuinely cares about people, rather than just his own self-glorification.

He has fired archbishops for abusing funds, he’s spoken out about economic inequalities and advocated for helping the homeless, and now he is taking a serious stance on climate change!

Pope Francis is gearing up to deliver an upcoming encyclical on environmental degradation and the effects of human-caused climate change. (An encyclical is an authoritative letter, typically used for highly significant issues, sent to all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church.)

Top Vatican officials are holding a summit meeting today, April 28th, to build momentum for the Pope’s upcoming campaign, which urges world leaders to “enact a sweeping United Nations climate change accord… the accord would, for the first time, commit every nation to enact tough new laws to cut the emissions that cause global warming.”

Per the New York Times:

“In the United States, the encyclical will be accompanied by a 12-week campaign, now being prepared with the participation of some Catholic bishops, to raise the issue of climate change and environmental stewardship in sermons, homilies, news media interviews and letters to newspaper editors.”

The Pope’s stance on climate change really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering that he chose to take on the name of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment. St. Francis (the medieval saint from the 12th century) is remembered for his love of nature and his humility and concern for everyone—no matter what is their walk in life, particularly the very poor.

Of course, we can expect the Pope’s encyclical to be met with resistance from those skeptics who refuse to admit that climate change is happening, despite the supporting evidence all around us. 

Conservatives in particular, seem to be among the largest group of those who deny the science of climate change. The irony here is that many religious conservatives, often practicing Catholics, have been known to describe the Pope as infallible when it comes conservative issues, but their regard for “his holiness” seems to falter when it comes to an issue like climate change, as the video below points out.

Regardless of the nay-sayers who continue to deny that climate change is happening—the number of people who do acknowledge the issue and want to see a change happen is continuing to grow.

Per the U.S. News & World Report:

“People of all ages, from all demographics and all corners of the planet, are beginning to recognize that significant changes are occurring in our ecosystem, and they’d like to see someone, anyone, do something about it. They’re beginning to challenge leaders to act boldly. They’re learning how to act as low-carbon consumers. They’re demanding an end to the fossil fuel age. They’re turning a distant threat into a moral cause that demands a much more immediate response from business and political leaders.”

It’s true that Pope Francis is indeed more than simply a religious figure head—Romina Picolotti (president of the Center for Human Rights and Environment in Argentina) has been quoted saying, “This pope is more than just a church leader—he is a political leader…” 

Timothy E. Wirth (vice chairman of the United Nations Foundation) has been quoted saying, “We’ve never seen a pope do anything like this. No single individual has as much global sway as he does.”

Bravo to Pope Francis for using his authority and clout to bring attention to an issue that affects every one of us living on this planet.

“Take good care of creation. St. Francis wanted that. People occasionally forgive, but nature never does. If we don’t take care of the environment, there’s no way of getting around it.” ~ Pope Francis

 

Relephant Reads:

Pope Francis invited to speak to Congress: Why should we Care? {Video}

Pope Francis & Saint Francis: Leading the Way to Our Spiritual Hearts . 

Author: Yoli Ramazzina

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: YouTube Screenshot; Flickr/Aleteia Image Department

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