The draft of Pope Francis’ long-anticipated encyclical on climate change was leaked by an Italian magazine earlier today, reported The Guardian. The pontiff’s encyclical warns of the “unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem” if mankind continues on its current path.
“Humanity is called to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming, or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it,” said the draft. “Numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of the global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases . . . given off above all because of human activity.”
It’s no secret that Pope Francis has aligned himself with environmental causes and has decried the threat of climate change and its cause in the past. An encyclical is an official letter to the highest level of Vatican officials and will prove to be controversial, at least in the eyes of American religious conservatives, because many religious Americans deny climate change even exists.
In the encyclical, Pope Francis not only addresses climate change and its cause, but he admonishes attitudes, like those shared by Republicans, of apathy, doubt, and denial.
“The attitudes that stand in the way of a solution, even among believers, range from negations of the problem, to indifference, to convenient resignation of blind faith in technical solutions,” the pope wrote.
The planet “is protesting for the wrong that we are doing to her, because of the irresponsible use and abuse of the goods that God has placed on her,” opened the draft. “We have grown up thinking that we were her owners and dominators, authorized to loot her. The violence that exists in the human heart, wounded by sin, is also manifest in the symptoms of illness that we see in the Earth, the water, the air, and in living things.”
The Vatican condemned the leak, feeling that it will take away from the ceremoniousness inherent in its official revealing. Some in the Vatican believe the leak was an act of “sabotage against the pope.”
The Guardian noted that House Speaker John Boehner is a Catholic Republican who has frequently shrugged off the debate regarding climate change. Boehner and others like him resort to the fallback response of “I’m not a scientist.”
Pope Francis calls upon every person to realize the threat that our planet is under and to act. Hopefully, the pontiff’s encyclical will be a wakeup call to those on the far right who apathetically sit on the sidelines with their heads in the sand.