Thursday, 18 June 2015

Climate change: Pope Francis calls for global action

Pope Francis on Thursday (June 18) issued a major encyclical on the environment, called "Laudato Si (Praise Be), On the Care of Our Common Home"

In the first papal document dedicated to the environment, the pontiff plunged the Catholic Church into political controversy over climate change, squarely backing scientists who say it is mostly man-made.

In the encyclical, Francis calls for a change of lifestyle in rich countries steeped in a "throwaway" consumer culture and an end to an "obstructionist attitudes" that sometimes put profit before the common good.

The most controversial papal pronouncement in half a century has already won him the wrath of conservatives, including several U.S. Republican presidential candidates who have scolded Francis for delving into science and politics.

Eastern Orthodox Metropolitan John Zizioulas presented the document at a Vatican news conference.

"Those who read the encyclical will be impressed by the depth and the thoroughness with which the ecological problem is treated and its seriousness is brought out together with concrete suggestions and proposals on how to act in order to face its consequences," he said.

"The proper relationship between humanity and the earth or its natural environment has been broken with the fall both outwardly and within us and this rapture constitutes what we call sin," Zizioulas added.

The papal document is being seen as a clarion call to the 1.2 billion members of the Catholic Church. It is also seen as the most controversial papal document since Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae upholding the Church's ban on contraception, and is expected to spur the world's Catholics to lobby policy makers on ecology issues and climate change

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