Pope Francis Releases ‘Laudato Si’ Encyclical And Lays Out Moral Case For Addressing Climate Change

In a highly anticipated papal letter released Thursday, Pope Francis called on Catholics worldwide to make safeguarding the environment and battling climate change an urgent and top priority of the 21st century.

In the lengthy treatise, more broadly addressed to “every person” who lives on Earth, the pope lays out a moral case for supporting sustainable economic and population growth as part of the church’s mission and humanity’s responsibility to protect God’s creation for future generations. While saying that there were natural causes to climate change over the earth’s history, the letter also says in strong words that human activity and production of greenhouse gases are to blame.

I invite all to pause to think about the challenges we face regarding care for our common home. #LaudatoSi

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 18, 2015

We need a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. #LaudatoSi

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 18, 2015

The draft text of the encyclical, titled “Laudato Si’” (“Be praised”), was leaked Monday by the Italian magazine L’Espresso in what Vatican officials called a “heinous act.”

Already buzzed-about in Catholic and political circles before the leak, the pope’s global call on the environment generated strong reaction this week, with everyone from theologians to aspiring presidential nominees chiming in.

“I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope,” GOP presidential hopeful and Catholic Jeb Bush said at a campaign event this week in reaction to the pope’s views on climate change policy. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), also a Catholic, has spoken out against the pope as well, saying —> Read More