Pope Francis’ Letter On Climate Change Leaked; Vatican Condemns ‘Heinous Act’

Pope Francis’ Letter On Climate Change Leaked; Vatican Condemns ‘Heinous Act’
A ride in the popemobile Raffaele Esposito CC BY 2.0

Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change, due to be published on Thursday, has been leaked by Italian Magazine L’Espresso on its website.


The leaking of the letter is being condemned by the Vatican, something that inadvertently suggests that the draft may be accurate in its form. The 192-page document, which is the pope’s first letter on how climate change would affect the world’s poor, addresses concerns that environmentalists and climate change activists have been speaking about for a long time.

Although Pope Francis has attributed certain natural causes to have caused global warming, he maintains that climate change is principally a man-made problem.

According to The Guardian, he has written in the draft, “Humanity is called to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming, or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it. Numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of the global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases … given off above all because of human activity.”

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Addressing the climate-change deniers, the document says, “The attitudes that stand in the way of a solution, even among believers, range from negation of the problem, to indifference, to convenient resignation or blind faith in technical solutions.”

Pope Francis made several references to the Bible, and covers issues of over consumption, extinction of species and wanton waste especially in developed nations. The issue of scarcity of clean water, particularly in the underdeveloped world, was also discussed at length in the draft. Furthermore, the pope said that forsaking the underprivileged and “attacks against nature” constitute sin as much as violence and wars, as reported by Forbes.

The Vatican, however, claims that the leak was a “heinous act,” according to Bloomberg News.

An official statement from the Vatican said, “An Italian text of a draft of the Pope’s Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ has been published. Please note that it is not the final text, and that the rules of the Embargo remain in place. We ask journalists to respect professional standards, which call for waiting for the official publication of the final text.”

With the encyclical, Pope Francis will be looking to influence Republicans in Washington, most of whom deny that climate change is man-made and have taken a firm opposite stand against regulatory efforts by the Obama administration.

At a climate change conference hosted by the Heartland Institute, Sen. James Inhofe, a Republican, chief of the Senate’s environment and public works committee and a climate change skeptic, spoke against the pope’s message.

Inhofe said, “Everyone is going to ride the pope now. Isn’t that wonderful. The pope ought to stay with his job, and we’ll stay with ours.

“The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think that we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we’re really good at, which is theology and morality. When we get involved with political and controversial scientific theories, I think the church is not as forceful and credible.”

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