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Pope Francis to Issue ‘Unprecedented’ Edict on Climate Change

Posted on Dec 28, 2014

    Pope Francis. Photo by KOREA.NET (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In 2015, Pope Francis is expected to address the issue of climate change to a U.N. general assembly and the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, and call a summit on the threat of the world’s main religions.

Vatican insiders say Francis will meet other faith leaders and lobby politicians at the U.N. general assembly in New York in September, when countries are scheduled to agree on new anti-poverty and environmental goals.

The Guardian reports:

Urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds, [a rare encyclical on climate change and human ecology] will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests, who will distribute it to parishioners.

… In recent months, the pope has argued for a radical new financial and economic system to avoid human inequality and ecological devastation. In October he told a meeting of Latin American and Asian landless peasants and other social movements: “An economic system centred on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it.

“The system continues unchanged, since what dominates are the dynamics of an economy and a finance that are lacking in ethics. It is no longer man who commands, but money. Cash commands.

“The monopolising of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness,” he said.

Observers expect Francis’ environmental radicalism to be resisted by Vatican conservatives and right-wing church circles, particularly in the United States.

Cardinal George Pell, for instance, is a former archbishop of Sydney who has been placed in charge of the Vatican’s budget and who has claimed that global warming has ended and that if carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere were doubled, “plants would love it.”

Dan Misleh, director of the Catholic climate covenant, said: “There will always be 5-10% of people who will take offense. They are very vocal and have political clout. This encyclical will threaten some people and bring joy to others. The arguments are around economics and science rather than morality.

“A papal encyclical is rare. It is among the highest levels of a pope’s authority. It will be 50 to 60 pages long; it’s a big deal. But there is a contingent of Catholics here who say he should not be getting involved in political issues, that he is outside his expertise.”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


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