Update on my June blog post on Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change:
Pope Francis arrived in DC on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday morning, addressed the nation from the lawn of the White House, so it seems like a good time to update my blog post from June. Although the Pope addressed a lot of issues, climate change and the environment are still at the top of his agenda, and the media coverage reflects it:
From the BBC, Pope Francis urges action on climate change on visit to US, and the New York Times, Pope Francis, in Washington, Addresses Poverty and Climate.
The Pope devoted a good deal of time to endorsing the President’s Clean Power Plan (!) and repeating his message from his encyclical Laudato Si—Our Common Home:
“Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation. When it comes to the care of our ‘common home,’ we are living at a critical moment of history. We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about ‘a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.’ (Laudato Si’, 13) Such change demands on our part a serious and responsible recognition not only of the kind of world we may be leaving to our children, but also to the millions of people living under a system which has overlooked them. Our common home has been part of this group of the excluded which cries out to heaven and which today powerfully strikes our homes, our cities and our societies.”
Thursday morning he addressed Congress, the first Roman Catholic pontiff ever to do so. The full text of his remarks is here.
The politics of Pope Francis’s remarks cut across the usual left/right dichotomy and make for some strange bedfellows—or at least politicians standing next to each looking awkward (I’m looking at you, Biden and Boehner)—when it comes to climate change, poverty, and much else.
This Pope had better be a fighter because not everyone is in his corner. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has greeted Laudato Si with studied indifference –and I have heard very little about it from the pulpit of my own parish.
Regardless, the media attention to the Pope’s “climate campaign” and the elevation of this fight are heartening and important. Here at NRCM we’re doing our part to keep the pressure on Congress to act on climate! We play a leading role in the work to support the Clean Power Plan here in Maine. We are working for energy efficiency and in support of initiatives that increase availability of solar power. And there is plenty of opposition in Maine too. But we will persist—as Pope Francis says, we cannot leave the problem of climate change to future generations.
Find out more about NRCM’s clean energy advocacy.