Pope Francis call for an ethical and economic revolution to prevent catastrophic climate change and growing inequality in a letter to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics is based on the argument that humanity’s exploitation of the planet’s resources has crossed the Earth’s natural boundaries, and that the world faces ruin without a change in our hearts and minds.
The much-anticipated message, which will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops, will be published online in five languages on Thursday and is expected to be the most clear statement yet from the pontiff, delivering a stark warning of climate change dangers, admonishing rich elites, and pushing us off our inaction on this issue.
The Pope’s letter will address the root causes of poverty and the threats facing nature, the planet, people, and the whole of creation.
In a recent speech the Pope said: “Much of the world remains in poverty, despite abundant resources, while a privileged global elite controls the bulk of the world’s wealth and consumes the bulk of its resources.”
Francis call for a change in attitudes to poverty and nature are well understood to be part of his Christian Compassion homily: “An economic system centered on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it,” he told a meeting of social movements last year.
“I think a question that we are not asking ourselves is: isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature? Safeguard creation because, if we destroy it, it will destroy us. Never forget this.”
The Pope’s letter will go much further than strictly environmental concerns, because Francis has repeatedly stated that the environment is not only an economic or political issue, but is a People’s ethical matter…
The letter will address the issue of inequality in the distribution of resources and topics such as the wasting of food and the irresponsible exploitation of nature and the consequences for people’s life and health. The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits.
The rare encyclical, called “Laudato Sii”, or “Praised Be”, has been timed to have maximum public impact ahead of the pope’s meeting with Barack Obama and his address to the US Congress and the UN general assembly in September.
It is also intended to improve the prospect of a strong new UN global agreement to cut climate emissions. By adding a moral dimension to the well-rehearsed scientific arguments, Francis hopes to raise the ambition of countries above their own self-interest to secure a strong deal in a crucial climate summit in Paris in November – December of 2015.
It is important to recall that Pope Francis has personally committed to work on this Climate issue like no other political or religious leader before him. It is indeed expected that the Pope’s Letter [the encyclical] will have a major impact around the world on the more than two billion Catholics and the other two or so billion other Christians who comprise the other Christian denominations. Pope Francis letter will speak to the moral imperative of addressing climate change in a timely fashion in order to protect the most vulnerable and least responsible for this.
Francis, the first Latin American pope, is increasingly seen as the voice of the global south and a catalyst for change in global bodies. In September, he will seek to add impetus and moral authority to UN negotiations in New York to adopt new development goals and lay out a 15-year global plan to tackle hunger, extreme poverty and health. He will address the UN general assembly on 23 September as countries finalize their commitments.
However, Francis’s stance and popularity, is attracting some resistance from Conservatives and Republicans in rightwing church circles, particularly in the US – where Catholic climate skeptics also include many Republican leader of the House of Representatives, Senators, and Republican presidential candidates.
“Today many prominent voices call humanity a scourge on our planet, saying that man is the problem, not the solution. Such attitudes too often contaminate their assessment of man’s effects on nature,” Republican pundits say.
But the Pope’s Letter, “the encyclical” will be well received in developing countries, where most Catholics live. “Francis has always put the poor at the centre of everything he has said. The developing countries will hear their voice in the encyclical,” said the director of the Catholic development agency, Cafod. “I expect it to challenge the way we think. The message that we cannot just treat the Earth as a tool for exploitation will be a message that many will not want to hear.”
The pope is “aiming at a change of heart. What will save us is not technology or science. What will save us is the ethical transformation of our society,” said Eduardo Scarel, a climate scientist who teaches at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina in Buenos Aires.
Earlier popes, including Benedict XVI and John Paul II, addressed environmental issues and “creation”, but neither mentioned climate change or devoted an entire encyclical to the links between poverty, economics and ecological destruction. And even Pope Francis’s only previous encyclical letter concerned the nature of religious faith. So this is new ground.
The current Pope Francis also happens to be a well respected Scientist with a Masters Degree in Chemistry. And that makes Francis the pontiff a reasonable scientific voice to be listened to, as the One Global Leader who is a Scientist and is self chosen as a leader on this most important of issues for Humanity’s continued survival. Francis now is accepted by the whole World as playing an increasingly important and pivotal role on the world stage, as we are all facing the Catastrophic consequences of Climate Change.
Francis who will visit Cuba this fall, ahead of traveling to the US, has been credited by Obama as having helped to thaw relations between the two countries, and last week he also met the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to discuss the crisis in Ukraine and the threat to minority Christians in the Middle East.
The pope who chose “Francis of Assisi” the patron saint of animals, as his namesake at the start of his papacy in 2011, saying the saint’s values reflected his own — is set on his Mission to protect People by being the most compassionate Pope in History.
From his days ministering in the slums to the ultra poor, to the famined campesinos, and to the garbage dump dwellers, all the way to these present days when he sneaks out of the Vatican and shelters the homeless people of Rome — Francis lives up to his Mentor and his Mission unfailingly.
Well Done Francis
May Your days upon this Earth be Long and May God keep You safe.