In a letter to be sent to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, Pope Francis will call to an end to climate change and global inequality.
The pope will urge for a “fundamental change of course to protect the earth and its people” in an encyclical focusing on issues of environment and climate change.
The encyclical, called “Laudato Si” or “Praised Be,” is expected to bring about a “transformation” and will have a “major impact.” The letter is due to be published on Thursday.
Pope Francis was quoted on Vatican Radio as saying, “Let us pray that everyone can receive its message and grow in responsibility toward the common home that God has entrusted to us.” The message comes before the 2015 Climate Change Conference, set to take place in Paris, that is believed will result in the first binding agreement among nations on the issue of climate change.
According to Yahoo News, the encyclical supports the notion that climate change has been caused by humans. The letter will highlight the adverse effects that climate change can have on the poor in addition to discussing financial inequality and population issues. Wealthier nations will be asked to look into their “throw-away” lifestyles.
Pope Francis, speaking to the sea of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, said the letter was “addressed to everyone.” He believes it will instigate “renewed attention to situations of environmental degradation and to recovery” and give rise to “greater responsibility for the common home that God has entrusted to us.”
Although the role of religion in the issue of climate change has been acknowledged by politicians, the pope has been condemned by conservatives and climate change skeptics for resorting to science.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who will be attending the climate change summit in Paris this year, said, “If you are concerned about God, a creator and his creation, then you have to be concerned that his creation is not destroyed.”
Cardinal Peter Turkson, who supervised the drafting of the encyclical, reinforced the concern of a growing need to stop climate change. Poverty and the effects that climate change will have on nature will be addressed in the letter, Cardinal Turkson said.
According to Daily Mail, he said in a conference on climate change at the Vatican this year, “We clearly need a fundamental change of course, to protect the earth and its people — which in turn will allow us to dignify humanity.”
Pope Francis is not the first pope to address the issue of increasing climate change, as reported by Toronto Star. Pope John Paul II discussed the same issues in an encyclical in 1991, while Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 discussed how climate change adversely affects the poor, saying that the destruction of environment is disrespectful towards nature and that it would mar the lives of future generations.
“I don’t know if it is all [man’s fault] but the majority is, for the most part, it is man who continuously slaps down nature,” Pope Francis had said in January.
“I think man has gone too far… thank God that today there are voices that are speaking out about this.”
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