Pope calls on Catholics to take on climate change

| 29/12/2014

(CNS): Pope Francis wants to have a direct influence on the Paris climate change summit next year and has declared it his mission to take on the subject during 2015 through speeches, summit appearances and a call-to-arms to the world’s Catholics.  Next year the pontiff is expected to tell the planet’s 1.2 billion Catholics why acting on climate change is essential to the faith, using an influential church document called an encyclical. According to global media reports, this long rumoured document will be released to the world’s 5,000 bishops and 400,000 priests shortly. One of the pope’s main goals will be to influence the Paris conference next December, when the objective is to achieve a legally binding agreement on climate from every country in the world after decades of negotiations to determine the planet’s future.

He will also take his message to the UN General Assembly in a New York address next September and has plans to personally lobby political and faith leaders there, with the goal of pushing them to commit to real action ahead of the Paris meeting.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis told a massive crowd in Rome, “If we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us.” He has also called the destruction of the rainforest a “sin”, and under his leadership the Church held a five-day summit with scientists, economists, philosophers, astronomers and other experts to explore ways the Catholic church could address climate and sustainability.

During the climate talks in Lima this month, Catholic bishops from every continent called for “an end to the fossil fuel era”. This follows, they said, the need to prioritize “the immediate needs of the most vulnerable communities”. 

In an annual lecture to the British Catholic group, Cafod, last month, Argentinian Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, said that “solid scientific evidence exists that global climate is changing and that human activity based on the use of fossil materials contributes decisively to this trend”.

Sorondo has also pointed to the pope’s “unique role as a religious leader” to offer guidance to ensure the natural world is developed in a sustainable and socially inclusive way.

“The problem of climate change has become a major social and moral problem, and mentalities can only be changed on moral and religious grounds,” he said.

While many Christian groups are supportive of the need for real action to address climate change, there is still a strong majority of white evangelicals in the US who believe that worsening natural disasters are a sign of the apocalypse, not climate change, and other conservative evangelical sects will likely oppose Francis’ efforts.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Bring on the Carbon Tax!

  2. Anonymous says:

    The real environmental problem in the world is not global warming but over-population.  

  3. Anonymouss says:

    Climate change (formerly branded as Global Warming before the globe started cooling in and since 1994)  is a fraud designed to defraud your via global taxation levied against every form of energy and transportation globally.  Then to further defraud you further via "reparations" (lawsuits) for having damaged the earth and other poorer countries around the world with your ruthless gas guzzlers and over the top lawn mowers. etc..  (Insert pictures of starving babies here due to global warming and rising seas….)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Global Warmig a fraud…Jesuit Pope a farud.

  5. Anonymous says:

    We are under biblical mandate to manage God's creation well, " to keep and protect it "'. This enviornmental engagement is part of our witness to a culture which is increasingly conscious of this priority.

    Our work to preserve God's creation is the best way to ensure that future generations will be sustained and healhy. This is a crucial time in the history of our planet.

    How will you help?



  6. Anonymous says:

    Ah, so NOW the pope respects science.  What next?  No virgin birth?  No wine turning into blood?  No walking on water? No zombie. . . .

    • Anonymous says:

      At least they got rid of Limbo a few years ago. It's a start.

      • Anonymous says:

        That was because the Pope could not limbo as he had a bad back.  It was purgatory for him.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree, they should all stop contributing to CO2 emissions now so stop breathing! 

  8. The Deacon says:

    The Pope should mind his own business.  If God doesn't want climate change, there won't be any climate change.  If He does, there will.  God doesn't change His mind.  Don't waste your time, Pope Francis.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, that is definitely what Jesus said.  He said "Don't worry about doing good things because if they need doing Dad will fix it".  That is definitely the Christian way, sit on your fat a$$ and do nothing. 

    • Mr. Ected says:

      In that case, I hope next year God wants me to have a Porsche, and a holiday in Spain.