A few months ago Pope Francis urged humanity to have more respect for nature, saying we were custodians of a planet created by God.
The Pope named himself after Saint Francis of Assisi. He is the first Pope to take climate change seriously. It is expected that he will shortly issue an Encyclical ~ a powerful edict to the world’s Catholics ~ to step up the fight against Climate Change.
News of the Pope’s environmental intentions have made waves both inside the Catholic world and outside it. Ecological theologian Heather Eaton says the possibility of an encyclical is very important, as it lends moral weight to the issue. An Encyclical, a lengthy letter is taken seriously and is shared with all Catholics.
Eaton says the Pope is critical of the global system and its inequities which makes the life of people in poverty more difficult.
Pope Francis is considered progressive in both his prayer and his politics: if the Pope was to speak out on Climate Change, it would require clergy to take climate change seriously.
Environmental protection is seen as a faith issue. The destruction of the planet cannot be part of God’s plan. Moral, values and ethics are related to what’s happening to climate change.
Other faiths have responded to the Pope’s message on Climate Change. Asma Mahdi from Green Muslims says that the Koran demands Muslims be environmental stewards. She says climate change is a human crisis and that the Prophet lived a simple life and that this should inspire people.
Jim Wallace who is an Evangelical Christian and founder of Sojourners Magazine, explains that there is a new generation of Evangelical Christians who care about science and who believe that Climate Change is critical: that we need to be better stewards of the Planet. Evangelicals these days see is no contradiction between science and the Bible.
“Faith makes you care about the Environment”
Asma Mahdi says further that we need to get back to moderate consumption. She says the Prophet was ‘very mindful of the environment’ and that environmental stewardship is written into the fabric of Islam as a religion.
All three speakers agree that we need to be better stewards of the earth.
Asked about what the impacts of the Encyclical on Climate Change might be, all three speakers agreed that the Pope is well respected and that it would have an impact. Climate change is a multi-religious force as noted by speeches and statements from other religious leaders including the Dalai Llama and Hindi leaders.
When The Pope’s Encyclical comes out , it is expected to be both politically and religiously influential. The Pope is a faith leader who is changing the conversation on religion, politics, economics and the environment. The Pope shows a lot of compassion for the environment.
The Pope will be hard hitting: he has already said the destruction of the planet is the sin of the era. He is interested in sustainability and he is likely to tackle it head on.
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