Pope Francis released his long-awaited encyclical on climate change early Thursday morning, reported The Huffington Post.
The encyclical, entitled Laudato Si, or Be Praised, called upon “every person” who lives on Earth to take seriously the threat of climate change, while admonishing the dismissive attitudes of climate change deniers. The pope noted that nature has prompted climate change in the past, but he also noted that human activity is to blame right now.
Pope Francis addressed world pollution, saying that all people are affected by it – especially the poor.
“Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths,” wrote the pope. “People take sick, for example, from breathing high levels of smoke from fuels used in cooking or heating. . . . transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and agrotoxins in general.”
The pope has obviously done his homework considering that each of those things contribute to the Earth’s current polluted state and contribute to climate change. The pope indicated the climate as a “common good, belonging to all and meant for all” and recognized that “a very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.”
A papal leader relying on science to deliver an encyclical is a long-standing precedent that existed since at least the mid-20th century. Pope Francis acknowledged this precedent in the introduction of his encyclical. Despite this commonality, several climate-denying Republicans refuse to recognize the pope’s message, especially presidential candidate Jeb Bush, a Catholic.
“I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope,” said Bush. The candidate is a climate denier with vested interests in the fossil fuels industries.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, another Republican Catholic, recently received heavy criticism for saying that the pope should “leave the science to the scientists” and shouldn’t meddle in scientific matters. Santorum apparently isn’t up on his own religion considering the precedent of pope’s turning to science in past encyclicals, as Pope Francis indicated earlier.
Some climate deniers are delusional enough to insist that not only are humans not responsible for climate change, but humans are protecting and embracing the planet.
“Humans are not causing a climate crisis on God’s Green Earth — in fact, they are fulfilling their Biblical duty to protect and use it for the benefit of humanity,” said Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute. “Though Pope Francis’s heart is surely in the right place, he would do his flock and the world a disservice by putting his moral authority behind the United Nations’ unscientific agenda on climate.”
The United Nations has been leading the global effect on climate research for the past several years, utilizing the world’s leading meteorological and geological scientists.
Theology experts acknowledge how the pontiff’s encyclical will make climate change a moral issue. The crisis requires that kind of attention. It’s everyone’s responsibility to act against the onset of climate change if we are to avoid a global disaster. Sadly, there is a large group of evangelicals who resist science of any kind.