Can Pope Francis do what environmental movements like Earth Day and Greenpeace have failed to do—save the planet from human beings? Some pundits believe so. In early summer, Pope Francis is expected to release an historic document detailing the moral imperative to care for the Earth. Called an encyclical, the papal document is designed to convince the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics and others that climate change is a real and present danger that humanity can help to prevent. What remains unclear, the Washington Post rightly points out, is how the pope plans to make the case without disturbing the long-held Catholic view of God’s omnipotence.
Since an encyclical is considered the most authoritative document issued by the Vatican, followers are bound to take notice. The first of its kind to address the link between human activity and ecological maladies, it is creating quite a stir. Some, like Evelyn Tucker, co-director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University, believe that the document could sway an unprecedented number of people. She told the Washington Post that appeals to reason and law have been largely ineffectual.
“This is a new moment, when scientists, lawyers and policy people are saying: We need this moral transformation,” she said.
The same pope who reportedly claims all dogs go to heaven and endorsed evolution and the big bang theory is expected to outline what theologians and the pope are calling ‘integral ecology,’ a framework that describes God’s plan to keep balance among all living things. While it is unclear how the Pope will approach dogged ethics issues, not everyone believes he is qualified to lend his voice to the matter in the first place.
First Things contributor and Princeton University Professor Robert George wrote, “Pope Francis does not know whether, or to what extent, the climate changes (in various directions) of the past several decades are anthropogenic – and God is not going to tell him.”
Either way, the encyclical will be published ahead of the December COP 21 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in order to persuade global leaders to finally adopt a universal agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions and set the planet on a new, safer path. One that God would approve of.
Via Washington Post