The words Pope and Catholic Church may not often occur in the same sentence as climate change, but that is all about to change. This year is set to be a major milestone in humanity’s acceptance of our impacts on global warming as Pope Francis embarks on a mission to protect the planet.
Pope Francis has already stated that the greatest “sin” is destroying God’s Creation, and humanity’s contributions to climate change are doing just that.[i] Early last year, Pope Francis told a crowd in Rome, “if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us!” According to the Associated Press and The Guardian, these statements may soon grow into an official Church document called an “encyclical,” instructing the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to acknowledge human-caused climate change and act to fight it because doing so is essential to their faith.[ii]
Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square © Alfredo Borba
The imminent release of this decree is preceded by a five-day summit at the Vatican in May 2014 during which scientists, economists, philosophers, astronomers and other experts assembled to discuss ways for the Catholic Church to address climate change and sustainability.[i] Titled “Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature, Our Responsibility,” this joint workshop was held by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.…