We’ve long known that Pope Francis has a great many thoughts about climate change, and that he has been preparing to release a hefty encyclical to illustrate his stance. An unauthorized draft of that document designed to urge the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to join him in the fight to save our planet was published online in PDF format Monday by L’Espresso, a prominent Italian news weekly. But Vatican officials warn that the 192-page draft doesn’t represent the final version of the Pope’s encyclical, which will be released on Thursday.
Pope Francis has been working on the encyclical for at least a year and a half, and the document doesn’t appear to contain any new claims. In it, he repeats many of the themes he has spoken publicly about in recent months, such as the role of human activity in climate change and the responsibility of Catholics around the world to fight against it. The missive blends eloquent writing with scientific evidence, calling on governments of the world to cooperate to save “our common home.”
It’s unclear which stage the leaked draft represents or how it will differ from the final version, but Vatican officials have been clear in saying there will be some differences. Environmentalists and scientists have long awaited the written document, marking the Pope’s stance on climate change as a significant turning point in global perspective.
The Pope’s position, however, is not without criticism. He has some skeptics, like U.S. Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, who recently made a fool of himself by arguing that the Pope should “leave science to the scientists,” considering that Pope Francis holds a master’s degree in chemistry.
Elsewhere in the world, the Pope’s official encyclical release is garnering as much excitement as a Hollywood blockbuster. The Observatório do Clima, a network of Brazilian nongovernmental organizations and advocates for action on climate change, produced this mock trailer to illustrate the importance of the forthcoming papal document. Watch for yourself: