Pope Francis’s May 24 encyclical on “Care for Our Common Home” has changed the scenery on the climate change stage. In 184 pages, he used theology to lift climate change out of the halls of political and governmental debate and put it into our heads, hearts, and hands.
With this encyclical—essentially, a teaching—Pope Francis has done three courageous things, made powerful because his words contain no equivocation:
- He embraced the conclusions of international scientists.
- He recognized the “environmental crisis we are in,” and looked at the roots of that crisis—including “a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system.”
- Using a recurring theme of Earth stewardship, he has reinforced the theology of our connectedness to the creatures of the Earth, and it is in our relationship to all creatures that we can “discover a key to our own fulfillment.”