In March 2015, Pope Francis plans to deliver an edict urging his followers to take action against climate change. This conservationist call-to-action will be the first of its kind delivered by a pope. The edict will call for 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide to become active in efforts to save the planet.


Pope Francis will issue this controversial plea following a visit in March to Tacloban, the city devastated by the 2012 typhoon in the Philippines. An encyclical such as this is rare, which suggests how dire Pope Francis considers his message to be. He will call on Catholics to take action not only in the name of science, but also as a moral obligation. The 50-60 page edict will be distributed to 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests around the globe, who will then pass it to their congregations.

Although many conservative Catholics acknowledge global warming as a problem, it’s reported that about a third of that group does not believe that human action has a direct impact on climate change. This means Pope Francis’ message will likely encounter mixed responses. However, the pope has also achieved sky-high approval ratings, and this status could help his unpopular environmental edict meet a better reception.

It’s likely that the pope’s edict will reach more individuals than any other single message from any of the largest environmental groups. The pope also plans to address the United Nations General Assembly in September in New York. He hopes that his message will influence the next UN climate summit, scheduled to begin in November in Paris.

Via The Guardian

Images via Giulio Napolitano and Arnaldo Jr via Shutterstock.