Pope Francis published his encyclical Laudato Si (“praise to you,” from the first words of the document), fully embracing the environmentalist cause. It warns of global warming, says man is responsible, and calls for sweeping changes to save the earth. It also, as we will blog tomorrow, makes some sweeping theological changes that constitute a major change in Western Christianity.
You can read the entire document in English here. After the jump is a news account. Then I want to pose some questions for our discussion.
Pope Francis’ plea to make the state of the environment a central moral issue of our age has been greeted with applause from climate activists and a wide range of church, science and government leaders, but dismissive shrugs from those who doubt climate change.
In “Laudato Si,” Francis addressed “every living person on this planet,” urging them to hear “both the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor” about the damage from “compulsive consumerism,” waste and a single-minded pursuit of profit.
The pope’s “marching orders for advocacy,” as the head of the U.S. conference of bishops calls it, comes as the world nears a critical time for international climate change negotiations that start late this year in Paris.Francis said he hoped his paper would lead both ordinary people in their daily lives and decision-makers at the Paris U.N. climate meetings to a wholesale change of mind and heart.
The document, released Thursday, put care for the environment at the center of Catholic social teaching, and, in lyrical but stark terms, reframed the discussion about global warming from the dry language of science to a broad question of ethics.
According to the Catholic Herald, “we are simply not free to dissent from the teaching of this encyclical, any more than we are free to dissent from Catholic teaching about other moral issues.”
To our conservative Catholic friends who read this blog–many of whom have been skeptical about global warming, etc., and who would likely not be inclined to blame capitalism for our environmental woes as this encyclical does, what do you do with this?
It is being said that just as Catholic Democrats have a problem reconciling their pro-abortion policies to the teachings of their church, now Catholic Republicans will have the same problem on environmental issues.
For us non-Catholic Christians, what does this encyclical demonstrate about why the Reformation rejected the institution of the papacy?