Even before Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment saw the light of day critics were sharpening their knives, with the usual “stay out of politics.” The extremists included the Heartland Institute’s paper entitled, “Is the Global Left Counting on the Pope to Split the Catholic Church Over Global Warming? According to the article, the Pope’s stance on global warming is part of a left wing communist conspiracy to weaken the church.
From Fox news to conservative candidates for president, a common critique is found—this is a political issue, not a moral issue. Since the issue of global warming is intertwined with the U.S. economy, the criticisms are sharp. The flat earth society is on alert and not happy!
NCR’s Thomas Reese stated well the importance of the encyclical: “The encyclical also matters because it puts the Catholic Church firmly behind the environmental movement. With the Pope’s embrace, the environmental movement goes mainstream. They can no longer be designated as tree huggers and Gia Worshippers.”
Let the conversation begin. It is extremely important for parishes, colleges, interfaith groups and all who are concerned about global climate change to come together to discuss this important document. On behalf of the Eco Justice Committee I would like to encourage sisters and associates to discuss the encyclical in study groups. You may order copies of the encyclical on the USCCB website (here). You may also download a copy of the encyclical or read online here.
There are many helpful resources to serve as study guides, including:
- Catholic Climate Covenant Encyclical Media Tooklit – click here
- Faith in Public Life Encyclical Media Training – click here
- Laudato Si Discussion Guide – click here
We look forward to hearing responses after the discussions and would like to include in “Just Reflecting” or on a justice blog.